Why your business needs a VPN

If your business offers remote working, you’ll understand that the security of your data is paramount, especially when employees are working away from the office – something that is arguably more important now than ever, given the coronavirus lockdown means more of us are working from home, with employees potentially using their own equipment.

A virtual private network (VPN) is essential to keep your company’s network and data secure – here’s everything you need to know about this essential piece of security kit for your company…

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a way of ensuring security and privacy when using a public network, such as a home internet connection or public WiFi hotspot, and are usually used by companies that need to protect sensitive data.

A VPN works by creating a secure encrypted connection that tunnels traffic to a proxy server, which not only adds an extra layer of security, it also masks the user’s IP address to make them anonymous and mask their location – ideal for anyone who travels for business and needs to access content that may be geographically restricted.

What VPN should your business use?

VPNs aren’t offered as a one-size-fits-all model, and the quality and suitability of your VPN can range from the type and number of connections you need, to the amount of encryption required. You may also have to consider industry compliance.

And while there are a wide range of providers out there that offer their service for free, it’s worth remembering that you usually get what you pay for and any free services may not have the speeds or security you need.

Although VPN connections are usually secure, they’re not completely infallible, and while encryption can add yet another layer of protection, you need to ensure all employees adhere to security best-practices, such as only ever logging on to the company server, and always fully logging out of the VPN connection when their work is done – not logging out can make it that bit easier for hackers to access the system.

By way of explanation, Kevin Du, IEEE Senior Member and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University, compared the network connection to a network of doors: “When it comes to VPNs, we are opening a single door, which is the door to access the VPN server. To access the internal network, you would have to go through the VPN server first. Because of this, remote users can access a company’s private networks just as securely as if they were physically inside the company.  That is why it is called a ‘virtual’ private network.”

Does your business use VPN? Do you have any recommendations for any of our business community? Let us know in the comments section…