Networking SSL-VPN and IPsec VPN

Difference between SSL-VPN and IPsec VPN and which is better or security purpose

Following are the differences between SSL-vpn and IPsec vpn:

OSI model layer

One of the major differences between SSL and IPsec is which layer of the OSI model each one belongs to.
The IPsec protocol suite operates at the network layer of the OSI model. It runs directly on top of IP (the Internet Protocol), which is responsible for routing data packets.
Meanwhile, SSL operates at the application layer of the OSI model. It encrypts HTTP traffic instead of directly encrypting IP packets.

IPsec VPNs typically require installing VPN software on the computers of all users who will use the VPN. Users must log into and run this software in order to connect to the network and access their applications and data.

In contrast, all web browsers already support SSL (whereas most devices are not automatically configured to support IPsec VPNs). Users can connect to SSL VPNs through their browser instead of through a dedicated VPN software application, without much additional support from an IT team.

Access control

Access control is a security term for policies that restrict user access to information, tools, and software. Properly implemented access control ensures that only the right people can access sensitive internal data and the software applications for viewing and editing that data. VPNs are commonly used for access control, because no one outside the VPN can see data within the VPN.

Many large organizations need to set up different levels of access control — for instance, so that individual contributors do not have the same levels of access as executives. With IPsec VPNs, any user connected to the network is a full member of that network. They can see all data contained within the VPN. As a result, organizations that use IPsec VPNs need to set up and configure multiple VPNs to allow for different levels of access. And some users may need to log into more than one VPN in order to perform their jobs.

In contrast, SSL VPNs are easier to configure for individualized access control. IT teams can give users access on an application-by-application basis.

On-premise vs. cloud applications

Traditional on-premise applications run in an organization’s internal infrastructure, such as an on-site data center. IPsec VPNs typically work best with these applications, as users access them via internal networks instead of over the public Internet, and IPsec functions at the network layer.

Cloud-based applications, also called SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications, are accessed over the public Internet and hosted remotely in the cloud. SSL VPNs integrate fairly easily with cloud-based applications but need additional configuration to work with on-premise applications.