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Virtual Private Networking - What is it? Why Use it?

Virtual Private Networking (VPN) uses encription and key exchange to provide secure communications over insecure networks.  Typically, VPN is used to connect a remote computer or network back to an organization's primary network where protected resources, like your access to email or shared drives, reside.  When you connect through a field office network, you're automatically connecting through a Virtual Private Network.  However, you can also use VPN on an individual basis to connect to protected resources when you're not on the IASTATE network.