Private, Secure, Sensitive; All words that seem to be tossed around haphazardly despite the massive impacts they can have to a business model. So what is a private network and what does having that layer of security even mean? Today we’ll tackle the basics of private networking and cover one the proprietary products Liquid Web’s Cloud Platform offers to help keep you and your clients’ data safe and protected.
So What’s a Private Network Anyway?
Let’s start at the top! A network, either private or public, is just a connection between two or more computers.
The public network is an industry term used to describe the Internet. As you know, the Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other where all manner of data can be moved. From sensitive, private data like credit or medical history, to less private data like your favorite cat video, if it’s moving over the public internet, it’s out in the wild. Due to its accessibility, while in transit on the public network we have to rely on things like encryption to maintain privacy.
A private network is a connection between a much more controlled number of computers and is usually local to the physical devices. This network is completely segregated from the public network. Data that moves across a private network is not in the wild, it is not visible to anyone outside the private network and is untouchable by any public means while in transit. Because this data is being sent across a separate network, there’s no need for encryption while in transit. The data is protected based on the extremely limited access. Think about it like leaving your phone in your car. If you’re parked on the street, there’s a reason to be concerned. If you’re parked in your locked garage, not so much.
So Do I Need a Private Network?
That depends on your setup. The first thing to consider: private networking requires more than one server. So, for smaller setups or a situation where you’re not dealing with anything terribly sensitive, you’re probably OK without a private network. If you have a separate database server or application server, however, you may want to consider the private network approach. This will add in that extra layer of security while the data is in transit and, as an added bonus, due to the limited access, private networks are usually much faster too!
So What’s the Cloud Private Network, Then?
Up until recently, and only by using hardware solutions, only hardware servers could benefit from private networking. Now, thanks to the drive from our clients and our desire to offer the best products possible, the Cloud Platform has its own private network implementation, the Cloud Private Network. This virtual implementation boasts all the same functions and security layers as a true, hardware Private Network but available in the cloud: A separate interface, a network segregated from the public network and with extremely limited access, all keeping your data safe and secure.
How Is This Possible to Achieve in the Cloud? I Thought “the Cloud” Meant “Accessible from the Internet”…
Our networking and development engineers were able to create a second network completely separated from the public network but still accessible from our server instances. Once that was completed, security and limitation procedures and protocols were coded into the layers of hardware above the server instance layer, which results in a completely separate path of data transportation. Your data and your clients’ data are now protected via a private network, even in the cloud!
Brilliant! How Long Has This Product Been Around?
We actually launched this product in 2013 and have been updating it ever since. The original implementation had several minor shortcomings including requiring manual intervention every time a server instance was resized or moved as well as dated backend utilizations and a lack of IP tracking. This implementation, loving referred to as the Legacy Cloud Private Network, is slated for depreciation and removal in October 2018. The new implementation, still called The Cloud Private Network, in place and available since 2016, continues to get better and better. If you’re on the legacy implementation, we’re happy to help you move to the new, upgraded system.