VPN costs savings

Chris Carlson carlsonmail at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jan 24 15:20:54 EST 2001

Ah, I love a discussion!

While I agree with Sandy that security is one driver
for VPNs, I think she's incorrect in her weighting
factors.  I think that cost savings is THE single
largest driver by far.

Sure, some companies use VPNs to better secure their
connections, but you can do that with hardware
encryptors on Frame or ATM WAN links.  Why go with a
possibly less reliable ISP-based VPN just to get more

I've been doing security consulting for years and now
am in Product Management at a start-up "next-gen"
carrier, and we've never had a problem selling VPNs.
The cost savings alone make VPNs sell themselves.

I view security as an enabler, as a means to an end,
not the end.  Because VPNs are secure ENOUGH (if
implemented properly and appropriate for your
acceptable level of risk), they enable low cost WAN
and remote access connectivity.  Up to 50% savings in
certain WAN scenarios and up to 90% savings in certain
remote access scenarios.  One past client of mine is
saving $4,000,000 a year with their remote access VPN!

So, yes.  Everyone loves VPNs.  Providers love them
because they sell more circuits.  Vendors love them
because they sell more VPN boxes and software.  IT
Managers love them because they reduce WAN and remote
access costs.  Every dollar saved on
telecommunications costs goes right down to the bottom
line as profit!

The BUSINESS CASE depends on cost savings, not

I've seen companies that are paranoid about VPN
security: 1,024 bit algorithms, smart cards,
biometrics, firewalls, air-gaps, etc. and when I ask
them how they secure their UNENCRYPTED Frame Relay WAN
that ANYONE working for that provider can easily
sniff, their jaw drops wide open.  Doh!

It's up to the Security or IT department to use enough
security that meets the company's business demands:
protect sensitive data up to the acceptable level of
risk, enable lower cost telecommunications to save on
costs, and (possible) enable E-commerce to drive
revenue, all without expending undue extra costs.

*whew*  Big ole rant from Chris!  :)


--- Sandy Harris <sandy at STORM.CA> wrote:
> There can be large cost savings, especially where a
> VPN running over the
> Internet replaces an expensive leased line solution.
> However, I think that's
> the wrong question.
> The business case for VPNs depends mainly on
> security, not cost savings, and
> the value of security depends on the value of your
> data.

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