An SSL VPN is a type of virtual private network (VPN) that uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol — or, more often, its successor, the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol — in standard web browsers to provide secure, remote-access VPN capability. SSL VPN enables devices with an internet connection to establish a secure remote-access VPN connection with a web browser. An SSL VPN connection uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to protect data transmitted between the endpoint device client software and the SSL VPN server through which the client connects securely to the internet.
Enterprises use SSL VPNs for two main reasons:
- To allow remote employees to gain access to internal corporate resources safely.
- To safeguard the web sessions of users connecting to the Internet from outside the corporate network.
Moreover, SSL VPNs are easy to implement and don’t require installing and maintaining specific client software – just a modern browser! These types of VPNs are also known for their reliable connections. They provide a higher level of client platform compatibility as well as configurations for firewalls and remote networks.
They facilitate access to protected network resources remotely by using an authenticated pathway which encrypts all network traffic from end-to-end. This makes it appear as if the user is on the internal network, regardless of their actual geographic location.
SSL VPNs are critical to keeping employees connected to the work applications they need—and for IT to ensure that only authorized users gain access. SSL VPNs provide a secure way for your workforce, contractors, and partners worldwide to gain access to sensitive information from virtually any computer or device. Furthermore, they give IT full, granular control over data access. SSL VPNs are becoming more common in the workplace, and the learning curve to implement and use them is minimal.
SSL VPN servers can also be configured to enable more precise access control because they build tunnels to specific applications rather than to an entire enterprise network. That means users on SSL VPN connections can be restricted to only those applications for which they have been granted, not the whole network.