A virtual private network, or VPN, extends a private network across a public network and enables the computer user to send and receive data as if it were directly connected to the private network. This allows the computer users to benefit from the security and personally administered management policies while extending the reach over the entire public internet if desired. This is accomplished through tunneling protocols and other security procedures. This lets all of the users on the VPN use the resources as if they were physically located within the office environment.

VPN’s allow employees, for example, to securely access their company’s private intranet while outside of the range of that network. By their nature they also allow for there to be no centralized office at all other than a network and computers. A VPN can also be used by any internet user to connect to a proxy server for the sole purpose of protecting their identity and location.