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The difference between SSL and IPSec

In very simple terms, what is the difference between SSL technology and IPSec, and if one is more beneficial than the other, please explain how so.

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First, here are some resources to help you learn more about each of these technologies: How SSL works
An introduction to IPSec encryption
Step-by-step guide to Internet Protocol Security

SSL is typcially chosen over IPSec only because SSL is more mature and easier to use for Internet transactions. IPSec will typically (note typically) require more manhours to configure and maintain, thus not a good choice for, say, Internet Web-type transactions. Simple rule of thumb: If always using the same connection to the same business partners, IPSec may be best. If attempting Internet-type transactions with many one-time clients use SSL.


For more information on this topic, visit these other SearchSecurity.com resources:
Infosec Know IT All Trivia: Secure Sockets Layer
Ask the Expert: SSL vs. IPSec for encryption and authentication of data
Infosec Know IT All Trivia: IPSec
Ask the Expert: Resources for learning how IPsec works

This was first published in December 2002

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