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What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the security technology standard that helps in creating an encrypted link between a web browser and web server. This is how the users can keep their whole data secure and anonymous from the eyes of online hackers to another level.

Through our guide, we will let you know about SSL VPN in detail. Moreover, you can find the pros and cons of one of the best VPN that works with the help of a web browser.

What is SSL VPN?

When it comes to exploring the notion of SSL VPN, it just works like a normal VPN. Still, the users need to know a difference that makes this kind of VPN different from other online privacy services. The subscribers can use the SSL VPN through a standard web browser.

What is SSL VPN

How SSL VPN Works?

An SSL VPN works in a different manner as compared to other VPN services. It routes the information with the help of a secured tunnel. Moreover, it encrypts the data to enhance the protection level of the data.

Furthermore, the users do not have to install SSL VPN on their devices. All they have to do is to use a standard web browser. By doing so, they can use this type of VPN according to their own terms.

SSL VPN Described

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a cryptographic protocol, designed to promote online freedom and secure our online interaction. Just like the preceding protocols you know of, SSL tunnels all the information you send via a secure network in order to boost data safety and security. SSL VPN is a virtual private network created by using SSL protocol. There is not much difference between a virtual private network created by using SSL or any other protocol (  or  /IPSec etc); but, security level of a network created by using SSL is much more sophisticated and invulnerable to breach.

All the data tunneled through a virtual private network is encrypted; but, we all know about this security measure – don’t we? SSL VPN upgrades this aspect as well. SSL VPN upgrades this security aspect as it uses X.509 certificates to facilitate data encryption which takes data security to a whole new level. Furthermore, SSL VPN allows you to establish remote-access network connections.

L2TP (Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol) is one of the most frequently used protocols by security concerned VPN users these days. Without a doubt, L2TP provides excellent security with up to 256bit encryption facilitated through IPSec. However, some VPN providers would want to you install their client software if you wish to create a VPN facilitated through L2TP (Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol).

This however is not the case with SSL VPN. Unlike other security protocols, SSL doesn’t require installation of any client software. With an ordinary web browser, you can avail every benefit associated with SSL VPN.

A virtual private network created by using SSL protocol can correspond to a single or multiple devices that can be accessed simply by using a standard web browser. There are two main types of SSL VPNs that can fulfill your security needs.

Classification of SSL VPN

SSL Portal VPN

SSL Portal VPN is one of the networks formed through Secure Socket Layer. Through this virtual private network, multiple network services can be accessed by a user though it allows single Secure Socket Layer connection. The name portal VPN quite fits this kind of network; because, it works just like a single doorway that opens to many directions. This network provides remote access via the use of a standard web browser. However, as per the security precautions, a user needs to go through sophisticated identity verification process prior accessing the gateway.

SSL Tunnel VPN

SSL Tunnel VPN is another form of networks formed via Secure Socket Layer that not only enables users to access several network services through a standard web browser but also other protocols and applications that are not web based. The process is facilitated through a tunnel formed using Secure Socket Layer that carries data request securely from one end to another of the tunnel.

SSL Tunnel VPN is preferred by some users; because, SSL Portal VPN doesn’t allow some functions to be accessed. SSL Tunnel VPN using a standard web browser enables users to handle active content such as Flash applications, Active X, Java, JavaScript and plug-ins etc.  Users don’t get such liberties from SSL Portal VPN.

Advantages of SSL VPN

There are different advantages associated with SSL VPN. The network formed by using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) provides unbeatable security and invulnerability to unauthorized assaults. It protects your precious data from the cyber-goons at every corner of this digital universe. Furthermore, through SSL, you can form a protected network between remote users along with other internal resources. In addition, this network can be accessed remotely via a standard browser.

The network formed through SSL provides much more sophisticated security than traditional encryption protocols such as L2TP/IPSec. Furthermore, you don’t need client software to configure SSL VPN. Perhaps , due to this reason, a network formed through SSL is also called Clientless or Web VPN.

You don’t to download additional files or fulfill complex requirements to create a network through SSL. Unlike preceding security protocols such as L2TP/IPSec, SSL only requires an updated browser to establish a secure network. Furthermore, SSL VPN liberates its users to choose any web browser they prefer without putting on any restriction or obligation with respect to operating system.

Disadvantages of SSL VPN

Despite of all the unbeatable benefits associated with SSL VPN, it also has a few vulnerabilities. Irrespective of its security measures, SSL network is vulnerable to spreading Spyware, Malware, Trojans, Worms and Viruses etc. SSL network can be remotely accessed by users; hence, anyremote user having a device with unequipped with necessary security instruments can spread the malicious files from local network to organization’s network. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to have an updated antivirus installed on your device if you wish to access the network.

SSL VPN’s split tunneling feature can also be exploited by hackers and cyber-goons. When any user with remote access to the network shares network traffic simultaneously with public and private networks, he presents an opportunity to hackers and cyber-goons for an assault. Hackers can execute their assaults by targeting that particular user and using him as an intermediary in the attack. Host-based firewalls serve as optimal remedy in this regard.

There are other disadvantages associated with SSL VPN as well such as lack of host security software installed on public devices, physical access concerns and keystroke logging issues. SSL VPNS can lead to leak of sensitive information from endpoints. Furthermore, SSL networks can also be victimized through man-in-the-middle hacking assaults. While establishing a network through SSL, strong user authentication may be required and meeting the standards of all other sophisticated security policies can be a hassle sometimes.

What is Secure Shell (SSH)?

The users may assume Secure Shell a network protocol as Secure Socket Shell (SSL). The protocol offers the users a secure route by which they can access to the remote computer. In addition, it gives effective authentication and encrypted data communications between two computers.

As a result, the users can connect two computer systems on an unprotected network like an internet in a secure manner.

What is Transport Layer Security (TLS)?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is another crucial security protocol that describes a procedure about privacy and data integrity. You can opt the said security protocol in web browser and other applications too.

Advanced Features of SSL VPN

What makes an SSL VPN distinct from other online privacy services is the availability of advanced features. Here is the list of various advanced features you can avail through SSL VPN. The list consists of:

  • Endpoint Security Compliance

The said feature needs a system to abide by some pre-defined rules. Otherwise, the users will not be able to login through the system. These rules include Windows configuration, file scanning and antivirus updates.

  • Source IP/Date/Time Restrictions

This benefit refrains users from accessing particular websites in specific locations during designated time slot.

  • Cache Cleaning

The users can keep their cache clean through the help of cache cleaning feature.

  • Virtual Sandbox User Environment

The said feature allows the subscribers to avail the automatic configuration benefit hassle-free. Thus, the users are able to secure their devices against the unofficial or illegal access to their files and apps. Moreover, the virtual sandbox user feature removes the temporary files by default once a user logs out.

Wrapping Things Up

SSL VPN without a doubt is one of the most secure networks with sophisticated safety measures. Unlike the predecessors like L2TP/IPSec VPN, SSL VPN ensures maximum security with diverse additional benefits. You do not need client software to establish a network using SSL.

Nevertheless, despite of all the benefits offered by SSL VPN, there are some serious loopholes that need to be considered. SSL VPN’s strong feature is its security; ironically, this feature becomes its crucial weakness if mandatory requirements are not fulfilled or suitable precautions are not taken. In short, SSL VPN with all requirements fulfilled and all tools installed forms a network with unbeatable security.