A comprehensive guide to virtual private networks. Volume II by International Business Machines Corporation

By International Business Machines Corporation

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Suppose you are a major parts supplier to a manufacturer. Since it is critical that you have the specific parts and quantities at the exact time required by the manufacturing firm, you always need to be aware of the manufacturer′s inventory status and production schedules. Perhaps you are handling this interaction manually today, and have found it to be time consuming, expensive and maybe even inaccurate. You would like to find an easier, faster, and more effective way of communicating. However, given the confidentiality and time-sensitive nature of this information, the manufacturer does not want to publish this data on its corporate Web page or distribute this information monthly using an external report.

Therefore, each untrusted or potentially harmful service or application should be denied one by one. Although this is a flexible and convenient method for the users, it could potentially cause some serious security problems. Remote access servers should provide authentication of users and should ideally also provide for limiting certain users to certain systems and/or networks within the corporate intranet (authorization). Remote access servers must also determine if a user is considered roaming (can connect from multiple remote locations) or stationary (can connect only from a single remote location), and if the server should use callback for particular users once they are properly authenticated.

One way to implement this scenario is for the companies to purchase Internet access from an Internet service provider (ISP), then, given the lack of security of the Internet, either a firewall or IPSec-enabled router, or a server with IPSec capability can be deployed as required to protect the intranets from intruders. If end-to-end protection is desired, then both the client and server machines need to be IPSec-enabled as well. Through the implementation of this VPN technology, the manufacturer would be able to easily extend the reach of its existing corporate intranet to include one or more parts suppliers (essentially building an extended corporate network) while enjoying the cost-effective benefits of using the Internet as its backbone.

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