Congratulations on purchasing this book! You have just taken a major step in bringing the power of the Internet to your company’s arsenal of business tools. This book will show you how to design, implement, and use virtual private networks (VPNs) that are based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft client operating systems. VPN can be a very complex topic—it is the convergence of several networking protocols and services, some of which you might already know and some of which you will be encountering for the first time. Don’t worry, though, because we’ll help you through that complexity, and in the end you’ll be able to use the power of the Internet to enable your business to reach new heights of communications, collaboration, and productivity. The beauty of VPN is that it is a network layer technology, which means that the applications your company runs do not need to know about it or support it. VPN will operate across the board for all applications, extending your company’s reach and user productivity with full security and functionality to the mobile-computing world.
For any technology this powerful and that adds this much functionality and value to your company, most IT administrators are willing to invest heavily in third-party VPN concentrators, special client applications, and special services from different vendors to enable secure remote access for their users. The really good news is that VPN services are built into the Windows Server 2003 family, and all Windows client operating systems have VPN client software built in as well. If you are running Windows servers and clients, you are capable of deploying VPN today with no extra software or hardware costs. In this book, we’ll show you how to implement a fully functioning remote access solution based solely on Windows features you already own in the server and client operating systems.
To cover VPN properly, we need to set the stage by telling you what brings VPN to the forefront of your networking needs. VPN is not a luxury anymore. In the current day business environment, it is a necessity. Without VPN, you are missing a major portion of your potential as a business—no matter what type of business you are in.