IT Strategies for Your Business: VPNs
As more and more people adjust to completing their jobs remotely, businesses must come with up ways for their staff to safely access data or in-house applications. This is where the virtual private network comes in.
A virtual private network (VPN) is an Internet security service that creates an encrypted connection between a computer and one or more servers. VPNs help connect business internal networks to the Internet.
VPNs allow employees who are working remotely to access business applications and data, or they can create a single shared network between multiple locations.
In this blog, we will discuss VPNs and how they work, the different types of business VPNs, and how they can help your business.
How does a VPN Work?
When a virtual private network is turned on, it creates an encrypted tunnel between a user and a remote server run by a VPN host. The internet traffic is passed through this tunnel, and because it is encrypted, will hide a lot of private information.
Encryption is a term used to describe how data is kept secure and confidential when using a VPN. Encryptions hide data in a way that the only way a hacker would be able to read it is with a special key. Only the computer and the VPN server know what this key is.
When employees work on-site, they can connect their computers directly to the business’s network. However, once they are working remotely, they will likely be trying to connect the business network through their home Internet or the public Internet.
This could expose the business connection to hackers attacking the network or snooping for sensitive data. Encrypting that traffic with a business VPN keeps it safer from wandering eyes.
What are the Different Types of VPNs?
There are two types of business VPNs: remote-access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs.
Remote access VPNs create connections between individual users and the business network. These types of VPNs require two things: a network access server (NAS) and a VPN client.
A NAS is just a dedicated server that is connected to a business’s internal network, and the VPN client is software installed on a computer to use the VPN service. When an employee wants to connect to the business’s network, they start the VPN client. The VPN client will establish the encrypted tunnel to the NAS, allowing them to access the network without exposing traffic.
Site-to-site VPNs create a single network that is shared across multiple office locations. Each of these locations can also have multiple users. The VPN is hosted on each office’s network instead of on employee computers. This will allow staff members in each location to access the network without using a VPN client. However, that connection is dropped once they leave the office.
How Can VPNs Help Businesses?
Whether your business has several hundred employees or just a small staff of ten, VPNs are extremely important. For starters, this will allow your staff to expand and be productive almost anywhere.
With the landscape of work environments shifting to a remote atmosphere, your staff needs to be able to easily access the office network. Using a business VPN means your team can log in from anywhere that has access to the Internet, and they can do so securely.
VPN services are very affordable, and maintenance costs are also inexpensive. They usually do not require any physical infrastructure, nor do you need any supportive tool to work with it. Most VPN services will not charge for setup because they can take care of it themselves.
If you decide to use a service provider, they will work with your IT team directly, and the network setup and monitoring are off your plate. You will only need to pay for the service.
Your business may require employees to travel to countries that restrict internet access. Or a member of your team may be out of the country on vacation and needs to send you a file. Sometimes, staff members can be blocked from accessing business data that is stored online. Most VPN clients work internationally, and your team can use the Internet as if they were back home. If there are any restrictions in another country, the VPN client will work around them.
In some cases, internet speeds can increase after using VPN. Companies like Verizon or AT&T can control internet traffic by throttling bandwidth, slowing down your business’s network speeds. Since VPN can help encrypt internet traffic, internet providers will not have access to monitor your or your team’s usage.
Accessing your business data securely should be a top priority for you and your team. Working remotely is now becoming the standard for most businesses, and VPNs are the best way to access data without putting your business at risk.
You should work with your IT team to determine if remote access or a site-to-site VPN is best for your business needs. In some cases, both are necessary. Your IT team should work with providers to pick the option with the most reliable servers, connection speed and stability, and leak protection.
No matter what option you choose, both VPN options have the benefits of low cost, security, international travel, and low maintenance.