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VPNs Take Off

As company networks become globally dispersed, employees need to access corporate resources from home and the road. In turn, as corporations need to securely exchange information, enterprises are increasingly adopting virtual private networks (VPN) for inexpensive security solutions. VPNs create secure, virtual tunnels to route company data and applications through low-cost access routes, such as carrier backbones and the public Internet.

VPNs are big business, and getting bigger. Infonetics Research says that end-user demand for VPN services is expected to reach $30.1 billion, worldwide, by 2008.

Businesses looking to take advantage of VPNs have a basic decision to make: build and manage them on their own, or go with a solution provided by a third party. When it comes to third-party solutions, AT&T stands heads and shoulders above competitors, according to several recently published studies. According to International Data Corp., Forrester Research, and In-Stat/MDR, the telecommunications and network-services giant will close out 2004 as the top VPN provider.

In the recent annual ranking of IP VPN service providers by International Data Corp., AT&T was the leader, with more than double the market share of its closest competitor. It is the second consecutive year that AT&T has taken the top spot.

The combination of AT&T's extensive footprint, wide-ranging VPN offerings, and comprehensive catalogue of related network services has a great appeal to enterprise customers. This is reflected in the company's triple-digit growth in IP VPN services.

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