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Byline: DONNA HOWELL
To stretch network borders, companies the last few years have taken to virtual private networks, or VPNs. But some VPNs might be about to move over for instant virtual extranets, or IVEs.
A VPN connects outsiders securely to a firm's network through the Internet. VPNs became popular as more companies started to do business online. Firms used VPNs to link partners, suppliers and remote workers to their networks.
Now, though, people in the industry say IVEs are simpler to use than VPNs. And an IVE at headquarters lets people reach a firm's network from any Web browser. IVEs are starting to impress managers as a sometimes better and potentially more secure option than VPNs, though some firms use …