Private Leased Line – How Private Are They Really?

A private leased line can be private in three different ways:

  • Private like a private jet – dedicated to your sole use
  • Private like a bank safe – people know it’s there, but they can’t break in or see the contents
  • Private like a private eye -  incognito. No-one notices it’s there

Private Leased Lines are Dedicated

By definition, a leased line is a data connection dedicated solely to your company’s use.

If you buy a 100Mbps leased line, you get 100Mbps of connectivity. Even at peak times. Even if all the other users of the ISP are maxing out their connections. With a leased line, the bandwidth you’ve paid for is all yours.

A Private Leased Line is unencrypted, but very difficult to tap

But how secure are leased lines? Can you send your confidential data over them without encryption?

For most businesses, a leased line is secure enough.

However, if your data really are top secret you really shouldn’t be sending them between sites without using encryption.

Most corporate data aren’t that sensitive. While your competitors would be delighted to read your private data, they probably wouldn’t go so far as to hack into your system. If they WOULD, you ought to be encrypting your data using a corporate VPN. This makes the privacy of your leased line largely irrelevant, as even if people could see and copy your traffic, it would be unusable gibberish. The only thing it would reveal is the volume of communication between each of your sites.

While it is possible that a company could try to steal your corporate information by hacking into your leased line provider’s network, that's highly unlikely. They're far more likely to email your employees information designed to trick them into installing malicious software on their work PCs, software that would let them control those PCs remotely. A hacker might also try to trick your employees into visiting a specially created ‘drive-by malware site’. Such a site would take advantage of flaws in browser software, flaws that would allow malicious software to be installed without the user's consent.

Tapping a private leased line is too difficult for most hackers.Hackers are more likely to use other techniques, such as 'phishing', to get into your network.
To do this, the hacker tries to trick several of your users into entering login credentials into a misleading web site controlled by the phisher. Often, these web sites will be set up to look like Facebook, Gmail or other legitimate sites. Many employees use the same password in numerous locations, so there's a good chance that at least one of the passwords the phisher captures from overly-trusting employees could be used to log on to your corporate network or your corporate email system.

A common way to secure data flowing over large distances is to use an IP VPN, and to set up a mesh of tunnels between each of your corporate offices. The problem with this is that it ts a hassle to set up, and adding new sites can be complicated.

How a Private Leased Line can be made invisible to hackers

Your leased line or WAN can be Incognito.  In other words, it can exist, but not be publicly addressable.

With a traditional VPN solution, each of your sites has a private leased line and a firewall/gateway with a publicly accessible IP address. It has an IP address that a hacker could target with malicious traffic. The hacker could try to make the gateway inaccessible and unresponsive by orchestrating a distributed denial of service attack. Or they could make requests that exploit security holes in your router’s software.

An MPLS WAN solution could provide a layer 2 VPN which acts just like a wire, or an Ethernet switch. So all your sites can be connected together, without having a single publicly visible IP address. So, hackers couldn’t send you malicious traffic even if they wanted to. Another benefit of a layer 2 VPN is that it doesn’t need firewalls at each site.

Find out how much your Leased Line will cost

Need a private leased line? Find out how much you SHOULD be paying, by visiting our private leased line pricing tool .