VPNs highlight network inadequacies: Nokia VP

Switching to a virtual private network (VPN) shows up and inherent problems in a network, according to a Nokia executive.

Kenny Frerichs, vice president and general manager, VPN product group for Nokia Internet Communications, said issues are often brought to light during a VPN implementation "when we are looking at a diagram of the network and the paths that the information is going along".

"Implementing a VPN creates the opportunity to enhance overall security whilst bridging the gap between networking and security, bringing the two camps together."

A VPN is a private data network that makes use of the public telecommunication infrastructure, maintaining privacy through the use of a tunnelling protocol and security procedures. VPNs across Internet Protocol (IP) are also becoming increasingly popular.

Compared to North America and Europe, the takeup of VPNs in Australia is lagging behind. However, Frerichs believes this gives Australian end users the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.

"The VPN market is maturing and is being seen as a standard building block. However, there are management issues to be addressed. End users are unsure which technology to implement, and the applications and layer approach are still confusing."

Frerichs said Internet IP VPNs are gaining a good deal of momentum as it deals with technology that "encrypts data rather than just segments to private lines".

"IP VPNs ensure privacy of data end to end."

Frerichs said the benefits of VPNs are that it interoperates and is easy to deploy.

"For the most part, the challenge to the customer is getting a good understanding of public key infrastructure. VPNs are a good way of protecting assets. Firewalls are good, but IP VPNs ensure privacy across the globe."

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