A value-added network definition
A value-added network (VAN) is a specialized system that helps businesses securely exchange electronic data and documents with partners, customers, and suppliers. It’s used to make communication and sharing of data between different organizations smoother and better. VANs also add encryption and data validation services to ensure reliable and secure communication.
How value-added networks work
- Businesses send electronic data or documents to their VAN provider (e.g., purchase orders, invoices, or other important information).
- The VAN processes and properly formats the data, taking steps to ensure it’s secure.
- The VAN sends the data to the intended recipients (e.g., other businesses, suppliers, or customers). It knows where to send the data based on predefined agreements.
- The VAN delivers the data to the recipients through secure connections, often using protocols like AS2 or FTPS.
- The VAN confirms when it’s successfully delivered the data.
- VANs offer additional services like data translation, error handling, and compliance checks.
- Businesses can access reports and logs from the VAN, helping them monitor and manage their data exchanges.
What security measures do VANs use?
- Encryption to make the data unreadable to unauthorized parties.
- Secure connections (e.g., VPNs or dedicated leased lines).
- Access to data within the VAN is restricted with access control lists and user permissions — only those authorized can access and manage it.
- VANs use checksums and hashing algorithms to verify data integrity.
- Firewalls to protect against threats.
- Regular security audits and assessments.