VPN authentication definition
VPN authentication is the verification of a user or a device that is attempting to establish a connection to a virtual private network (VPN). VPN authentication ensures that only those authorized can access the network.
See also: authentication server, biometric authentication, two-factor authentication
VPN authentication examples
- Username and password: Users provide a unique username and password combination to authenticate themselves when connecting to the VPN.
- Certificate-based authentication: Digital certificates are used to verify the authenticity of the user or device and it can provide a higher level of security compared to username and password authentication.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA): This method combines multiple forms of authentication for enhanced security. MFA combines several layers of information the user should provide: something they know (e.g.: password), something they have (e.g.: hardware token, smartphone), something they are (e.g.: fingerprint, face ID).
- Public key infrastructure (PKI) authentication: PKI utilizes asymmetric encryption and digital certificates to verify the identity of users. Users have a private key that is kept secret, while a corresponding public key is used for authentication.
VPN authentication use cases
- Remote or mobile workforce: VPN authentication ensures that only authorized employees can establish a secure connection to the corporate network when away from the office protecting sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access.
- Business partners: VPN authentication enables controlled access to external partners or contractors while ensuring that only authorized individuals can connect to the network and access specific resources.
- Cloud access: Organizations using cloud services often require secure access to their cloud infrastructure or applications, so VPN authentication allows users to establish a secure connection to the cloud environment.
- Data centers: VPN authentication is commonly used to secure access to on-premises data centers and private networks. It helps protect sensitive data and prevents unauthorized access to critical infrastructure and systems.
- Compliance and regulatory requirements: Industries like healthcare, finance, and the government, have strict compliance and regulatory requirements for securing data and network access. VPN authentication helps organizations meet these requirements by providing a secure and auditable way to authenticate and authorize users accessing sensitive information.