As the Covid-19 pandemic changed the corporate landscape, more businesses began to introduce hybrid or remote working. With the growing demand for remote work continuing to rise and becoming a fixture in our lives, if you don’t have a VPN in your business you might want to consider getting one.
Many of us know about the benefits of using VPNs for personal use, such as streaming and gaming, but VPNs are just as useful for businesses to create a more seamless and integrated online working environment. VPNs are also very easy to install and you can set up a VPN for your business today.
Why use a VPN for business?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, connects everyone in your business, regardless of location. Your remote workers will be able to access all your files and office systems through a secure connection. This connection is encrypted, with the ultimate goal being to prevent sensitive proprietary data being exposed in an open internet. The data you send and receive through a VPN will be filtered through an encryption tunnel, rendering it impossible for anyone who does not have access to the network to see your company data.
Network security is essential now more than ever, which makes a VPN for businesses less of an option and more of a necessity. VPNs can handle different types of cyber threats such as external hacking threats and phishing. Businesses and clients alike should not have to worry about important information being accessed by unathuorised sources. Cybersecurity has become a major investment in recent years, with cybersecurity start-ups raising millions in seed funding. Data breaches are becoming more prevalent, regularly seen in the news, and consumers are rightfully concerned about protecting their sensitive information and what businesses are doing to prevent this. If you are providing applications such as Microsoft Office 365 or using Dropbox Business, you’ll want to make sure employees have a secure connection whenever they are logging into these resources to protect the files you have stored.
One concern is with more employees working remotely and modern technology continuing to develop, the number of devices used to access work related communication. Many people not only have a desktop or laptop for work, but also a smartphone and / or tablet. Numerous businesses who offer work-from-home jobs may only require the latter, with employees being able to access their work applications and communications on a smartphone. This is where a VPN is imperative to secure all endpoints and properly protect all devices. All connections should be secure, no matter if it is a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone.
Access control is a huge benefit of VPNs. This is controlling who gets access to what. A VPN adds an authentication wall for authorising users and applications in your network. To do this, VPNs will verify the identity of the user or application, prove the user’s identity (usually done with a password or security questions) and then grant the user access at the appropriate level based on their permissions associated with the username and IP address. The idea is that with network security, people should only be given access to what is absolutely necessary. Also take note to ensure that access is configured properly so that employees are able to handle data securely. “123456” tops lists of the most commonly used passwords so no matter what tool you have in place, make sure to be smart with all access information.
Just as employees who work from home outside of the office, you may have employees travelling to other countries. This is when you might come up against strict geo-restrictions where users are blocked from accessing company resources across the open internet. Using a VPN will allow your employees to access your network as though they are in the United States or the United Kingdom (where the internet is much less regulated), even though they are not physically located there. This is because VPNs will mask the IP address and make it appear as though the user is elsewhere. Although this may not apply to all businesses, it is critical for those who need it.
As your business grows, VPNs are scalable to meet those needs. During employee onboarding, VPNs are quick to deploy, making it a breeze to get new employees up and running with all the files, software, and applications they require. And as for employees who work from home, a VPN will facilitate remote access. For years, businesses would use a Wide Area Network, or WAN, to connect their employees across different locations. This was not a cost-effective method, as the further distance between network connections caused the price to increase. Now VPNs can leverage the bandwidth that already exists with the business’s Internet Service Provider (ISP).
An important note
If using a VPN for business, you should also be aware of what they don’t do. A VPN will not scan the contents of files sent between the user and the server. This means if a personal laptop is infected with a virus then connects to a VPN, there is a potential that the virus could spread to the office network. For best practice, it is a good idea to only have employees use company devices to access the private network. This is how you can ensure the best anti-malware and antivirus software is installed on the device.
There are too many benefits in having a VPN for your business to not install one. Heightened cybersecurity is vital for all businesses to avoid a data breach. With more employees working from home, securing all endpoints across devices will protect your company’s network, as well as monitoring who has access to what. Additionally, a VPN will provide you with complete geo-freedom should you need it for employees who work from aboard or if you need to connect to offices in other countries. With employee on-boarding as your business grows, a VPN will make the required software and applications easy to get up and running, all while keeping everything private, secure, and safe.