Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A private network that is configured within a public network (a carrier's network or the Internet) in order to
take advantage of the economies of scale and management facilities of large networks. VPNs are widely
used by enterprises to create wide area networks (WANs) that span large geographic areas, to provide
site-to-site connections to branch offices and to allow mobile users to dial up their company LANs. For
years, common carriers have built VPNs that appear as a private national or international network to each
customer, but, in fact, are sharing the same physical backbone trunks with many customers. VPNs have
been built over X.25, Switched 56, frame relay and ATM technologies as well as IP networks. For added
security, encryption is often used. Encrypted connections over the Internet are also very popular for linking
remote offices & mobile users; however, for top secret communications, the maximum security is still only afforded by networks of totally private lines.
CRM relevance: Highly relevant.