Ip Security Protocols

By: Jesse Miller

The internet community has developed application-specific security mechanisms in a number of application areas, including electronic mail, client server, web access, and others. However, users have some security concerns that cut across protocol layers.

An enterprise can run a secure, private TCP/IP network by disallowing links to untrusted sites, encrypting packets that leave the premises and authenticating packets that enter the premises. By implementing security at the IP level, an organization can ensure secure networking not only for applications that have security mechanisms but for the many security-ignorant applications.

IP-level security encompasses three functional areas: authentication, confidentiality, and key management. The authentication mechanism assures that a received packet was, in fact, transmitted by the party identified as the source in the packet header. In addition, this mechanism assures that the packet has not been alerted in transit. The confidentiality facility enables communicating nodes to encrypt message to prevent eavesdropping by third parties. The key management facility is concerned with the secure exchange of keys.

IPSec provides the capability to secure communications across a LAN, across private and public WAN`s, and across the Internet. Secure branch office connectivity over the internet, a company can build a secure virtual private network over the internet or over a public WAN. This enables a business to rely heavily on the Internet and reduce its need for private networks, saving costs and network management over head. Secure remote access over the Internet, An end user whose system is equipped with IP security protocols can make a local call to an Internet service provider and gain secure access to a company network. This reduces the cost of toll charges for travelling employees and telecommuters. Establishing extranet and intranet connectivity with partners, IPSec can be used to secure communication with other organizations, ensuring authentication and confidentiality and providing a key exchange mechanism. Enhancing electronic commerce security, even though some web and electronic applications have built in security protocols, the use of IPSec enhances that security.

The principal feature of IPSec that enables it to support these varied applications is that it can encrypt and/or authenticate all traffic at the IP level. Thus, all distributed applications, including remote logon, client server, email, file transfer, web access, and so on, can be secured.

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The IPSec networking device will typically encrypt and compress all traffic going into the WAN, and decrypt and decompress traffic coming from the WAN.

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