VPN stands for virtual private network. It is an isolated way of accessing the internet privately and securely. Data security breaches are common nowadays. Corporate and individual clients are becoming aware of such breaches and taking precautions to prevent it. VPN’s were developed in such a way that data that passes through the network cannot be detected even in cases where such data can be detected, through VPN it is not possible to modify such data before it reaches the recipient
How VPN works
Packets of data; what a VPN connection does is that it packages data securely during transfer from the sender to the recipient in a secure way such that no one else apart from the intended recipient has access to such content. The data is encrypted in such a way that it becomes undetectable to anyone else apart from the recipient. There are two types of VPN connections namely;
- Site to site VPN
- Remote access VPN
Site to site VPN; this enables users to connect via the internet. This mainly applies to companies or organizations with different locations and offices. Through site to site VPN, they can easily share info, resources amongst themselves or from their main office.
Remote access VPN
This is mainly used by individual users. They connect to the computer network servers through VPN. As such, they can access data and work with others at the location where the service is situated or even from other remote users.
Definition of firewalls
This is a security measure that helps online users get protection from virus and other online threats. The firewall analyzes the incoming and outgoing data and helps to prevent the spread of any malicious data that may contain a virus. There are three different types of firewalls depending on when they were developed. They include
- Application layer firewalls
- Circuit-level firewalls
- Packet firewalls filter
How firewall works
The firewall works on predetermined rules and discards anything that does not meet the rules. In setting up the firewall, the provider or you as the user should review the firewall settings as this will affect internet use. Mostly, IP address, specific phrases, port or web address are used to predetermine what data to block. There are three main mechanisms through which firewall works;
- Full inspection of the state of traffic and any content
- Proxy service
- Packet filtering of data
Of all the types of firewalls, the latest firewall version which is the application layer firewall enables more specific filtering of data. It is, therefore, the best and in most new devices, you will find this type of firewall.
VPN and firewall setup equipment
Different VPN service providers will have different setups and configuration for their VPNs. But there is basic equipment that they all use. There are three things that each service provider will need in order to set up a VPN connection.
- NAS; this is the network access server. It sets up the tunnels connecting to the VPN server remotely and maintains it as well.
- Firewall; this is a barrier to protect the traffic that passes through the VPN from the internet. It is very important in order to ensure that security and privacy are maintained.
- Authentication, authorization and accounting server (AAA server); the basic use of this server is to ensure that only authorized person logs into the server, authorize their login and also in future give account of the login. Basically, when a user logs into the server, they are authorized to do so and any activity done through the server is recorded for future reference or for accounting purposes.
Other equipment you need specifically for VPN connection;
Concentrator; this works like AAAs but the only difference is its ability to handle massive data. This is especially so for companies. Many users can also connect to the VPN if this equipment is set up on your device
VPN client; this is an interface that makes it possible for computers to be interconnected. This way, in case there are many users, it becomes possible for the computers to be interconnected and therefore it prevents every user to run on the VPN software which can slow it down.
VPN enabled router; this is the traffic manager in your device. If a device has VPN connection setup, through such a router you can easily manage traffic according to the specification given during setup.
A firewall that is VPN enabled; apart from filtering data and internet use to specifications, with this feature, traffic is closely monitored and controlled to avoid a security breach. Remember the device firewall is the main barrier that protects your online activities. Firewall software is secondary protection but equally important.
Choosing the best VPN and firewall
As you may have realized, the VPN and firewall installation are important in order to ensure that your privacy online and the security of online users is enhanced. These two security features must be in perfect working condition. You must also choose the best. Let us look at some of the considerations you need to make in order to choose the best. You will need to consider three main things;
Choosing the best VPN and firewall
- Security level; in most cases, packet filtering for firewalls is the basic way through which data security can be enhanced. For VPN ensure that the service you get has selected encryption option and logging abilities and that they are all limited to authorized users only.
- Reliability; consult widely before you sign up for a VPN service. Some may require constant maintenance or monitoring. Such VPNs may not be reliable and if your online activities are to remain safe and private, you obviously need a reliable VPN connection. Firewalls have a limit on info that can be processed at a time and this may also affect its reliability. It is, therefore, important that one consults IT specialists in order to get the facts right regarding VPN and firewall services.
- Specific needs of the users; this depends on whether the device is for use by corporates or individuals. For corporates, there is more traffic and a lot of data is involved. As such, one should opt for firewall and VPN service providers that are capable of handling busy and heavy traffic as compared to individual users.
The best way to connect VPN to firewall
Combining these two in a compatible way will ensure that security and privacy online are enhanced. You may do so through three main ways. The arrangement will be determined by the users. Most users will choose the easiest arrangement but an IT specialist should advise on the choice of arrangement depending on a particular user’s needs to avoid slow connection. First, seek help on understanding the pros and cons of each connection from your service provider depending on your need to ensure that you choose the best arrangement.
- Computer to remote network then to VPN enabled firewall
- Computer to remote network to VPN to firewall then internet; this may be a bit slow due to the many connections involved
- Computer to remote network to firewall to VPN then to the internet
Internet security especially the security of data and browsing history should be taken seriously. Individuals or companies need to take up measures that enhance data security to avoid data security breach and also protect their privacy. Through enhanced VPN and firewalls, this is possible. The info given above can help you choose the most appropriate software to install in order to enhance your online activities.