Site to Site VPN vs Remote Access VPN
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a popular cyber security service as it is used by 41% of internet users at least once a week. Just like individual users, companies opt for this service to protect their most valued asset; corporate networks.
But cyber security is an endless process that changes its course based on the industry, work model, or even size of the companies. That is why most business owners find it challenging to decide which VPN to use.
A site to site VPN, being one of the most popular VPN types, is often compared to a remote access VPN. If your top choices for your company are these two and you can’t choose one, hop on to learn all about them.
What is VPN?;
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a cyber security tool that masks your local IP to make your online actions invisible and untraceable. VPN services offer encrypted communication to users so they can privately search through the internet.
VPN services are used by both individuals and organizations either to access websites that are prohibited to their local IPs or to prevent their networks from being exposed. Several VPN types differ regarding functionality, intended users, or working principles.
What is a site to site VPN?
Large companies often have international offices or remote branches, and they need to encrypt and protect all the communication between these offices. The site to site VPN is used to create secure connections between these offices or even business partners.
So, unlike some other VPN types intended to be used by individuals, the site to site VPN is focused on connecting several LANs securely.
This is especially useful when you need to extend the boundaries of your corporate network to be accessible by sub-networks but without sacrificing integrity.
The site to site VPN come in two ways; intranet and extranet. Intranet-based VPN protect the connection between the branches of a company. Extranet-based VPN is used to let several business partners work on the same network without compromising their own resources.
Now you know how these services function. Read more to assess if a site to site VPN is suitable for your business.
What is a remote access VPN?
While site to site VPN is solely oriented toward professionals, the remote access VPN is similar to the everyday VPN we all use. Their main goal is to provide secure connections to remote employees so they can access a corporate network without compromising it.
In a remote access VPN connection, first, the remote user initiates the gateway via a VPN client on their devices. Then the VPN service evaluates and authenticates the user based on identity and context to grant access. After verification, the end-user is allowed to access corporate resources.
This gateway is temporary as it is only available as long as the end-user is connected. If the users turn off their devices or lose connection, the private tunnel is gone and they need to do it all over once they reconnect.
As UpWork forecasts that 36.2 million US citizens will work remotely by 2025, remote access VPN seems like a good choice to provide individual secure access to employees.
Site to site VPN vs remote access VPN;
These two VPN types differ in terms of target users and working models. First of all, site to site VPN is used to connect several different company or branch networks securely. Remote access VPN secure the connection between an individual and a corporate network.
The Remote access VPN are only accessible if the end-user initiates the gateway on their devices. This situation results in two significant issues; it mandates a VPN client on each user device and lacks continuity.
The site to site VPN solve this issue as they are always operational even if one of the networks fails, the others stay available with the exact same resources. They offer continuity in every possible situation.
Since a site to site VPN gateway is created by a single network and then the others are added to the structure, it only requires one VPN client. The other network doesn’t have to have one, unlike a remote access VPN.
The site to Site VPN uses IPSEC, a widely used security protocol to build a protected tunnel between the different networks they connect. Remote access VPN, on the other hand, can use SSL in addition to the IPSEC as they connect each user to a private network.
One of the most significant differences between the two is the ability of the site to site VPN to bring geographically distributed networks into a single one. They operate based on the principle to make a variety of private networks work as one.
In terms of efficiency, site to site VPN proves to be more beneficial since they let the networks act as one. However, remote access VPN need a separate tunnel per user which decreases efficiency.
In short, site to site VPN and remote access VPN are two different cyber security services that have drastic differences in their purposes. The site to site VPN is used to connect different company networks to create one collective network.
Remote access VPN is much closer to commercial VPNs as they connect users’ devices to a private network securely. The main difference here is that one is solely designed for office networks, and the other serves individuals trying to connect corporate resources.
Both of these services are beneficial in certain cases; one doesn’t dominate the other. The thing to consider here is your business needs.
If you want to work with partners and sub-offices, a site to site VPN is a great choice. Plus, they are accessible at all times so you can ensure operational continuity. There is a reason they’re one of the most popular VPN types.
Remote access VPN is also great if you need to offer your employees a secure way to connect to corporate resources. The best choice here is whatever suits your company the best.
Muhammed Hasip is a content marketer and manager with a strong IT background, passionate about storytelling and SEO. He likes creating high-quality content and helping others develop their skills. Besides work, he loves travelling, extreme sports, and reading fantasy books.