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MPLS versus IP-VPN

There are a number of direct benefits for Retail businesses using a MPLS network versus a traditional VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology.

The first issue with typical VPN solutions, is they are deployed on the public Internet.  Each branch location becomes an entry point from the public Internet connecting into your secure retail infrastructure and then back to the head office.  Communication is completed in most cases over a secure Virtual Private Network “Tunnel”, but let me emphasise the fact that this tunnel runs over the public Internet. 

The more branches you have, the more entry points you therefore have to the public Internet and the more branches in your network, the bigger the problem becomes.

There 2 key areas where significant benefits can be realised by using MPLS over IP-VPN:

1. Increased Network Running Cost

The first issue comes in the form of increased network running costs.  There are a number of areas that need to be considered when looking at the Total Cost of Ownership of your retail estate, and the network running costs that make up part of this.

The following provide samples of some of the running cost components, cost that could be eliminated with a MPLS infrastructure:

  • Quarterly PCI-DSS penetration testing needs to be carried out on any device connected to the public Internet.
  • The equipment used to connect the branch locations to the public Internet is in most cases an unnecessarily expensive firewall, routing and security piece of equipment, but needed in a VPN deployment to keep the branch secure from the public Internet.
  • The head office device that connects to all of the branch locations usually requires a very high end and, again unnecessarily expensive router/firewall that costs thousands of pounds.  In addition to the purchase cost, you need to maintain subscription requirements and ongoing administration. 
  • Most retailers use their head office to make IT services available to the branch locations.  To support this capability, a traditional VPN solution, using expensive fibre services are usually required at the retailer’s head office.

An MPLS solution uses centralised Data Centre bandwidth and is therefore considerably more cost effective. One firewall is used in the central datacenter to provide connectivity for the entire retail estate reducing cost and complexity. 

2.  Increased Administration Overhead

The next issue to consider comes in the form of network administration and the increased workload and therefore increased costs that come with administering a VPN network.

Network administration costs can be significantly higher with a VPN network deployment.  They are higher because there are more firewall policies to manage and more equipment and more software subscription deployments to maintain and monitor. 

Change control needs to be implemented on every device in the infrastructure due to PCI-DSS requirements and can become a major headache for IT Managers with growing and evolving network requirements.

So if you’re using IP-VPM because it seems a cheaper alternative, you may find it’s riskier and not as cost effective as you first thought.

We can help you evaluate which is the best option for you and currently have a free offer running on MPLS, meaning you can connect up your store network without any initial capital outlay and…

If MPLS doesn’t prove to deliver better value for money and a more secure solution for your business, then we’ll let you walk (with our no-hostages, 30-day contract term).

Contact me now.     


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Find out how Blaze Networks can help improve your network and your business

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