The global business disruption due to the pandemic is a continuing trend. It has catapulted remote work to the forefront. As such, enterprises must ensure seamless productivity. To ensure employees can continue working from home without interruptions, the use of remote access tools and video conferencing solutions have been implemented.
Although people have adjusted well to the changes and found comfort in working remotely, malicious actors are not at rest. They have also adapted to this changed way of working and are doing everything in their power to disrupt business operations. Therefore, ensuring the remote staff can continue working securely is paramount. After all, they might need to access sensitive business information or even connect to the company’s internal network from time to time.
One critical technology that has shown great promise in ensuring secure remote access to a company’s internal network and resources is VPN or virtual private network. A VPN connection enables remote employees to securely connect to the business’ network. The technology creates an encrypted tunnel between the remote worker’s device and the corporate network.
Here’s how a VPN works:
A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data passing between your device and the network you are connected to. The technology disguises your IP address so nobody can pinpoint your specific location, and the encryption ensures that even if the data is discovered, it will be incomprehensible.
You can get VPN application for your device, including your computer, laptop, or smartphone. The installation process is straightforward. Simply download the VPN application of your choice, register and pay the premium subscription fee, and turn on the VPN by selecting your preferred virtual server. Then, you can connect with your company’s internal network or share confidential files over the Internet. With a VPN connection, your data will be safe when you are working while connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
Why do companies implement a VPN for remote workers?
- Protection of remote employees: Remote employees famously use unsecure Wi-Fi networks from coffee shops, hotels, or airports. Hence, the number one reason for implementing a VPN connection is to protect remote employees from exposing critical business data. A VPN encrypts the Internet traffic so snoopers stay at bay and cannot steal passwords or other essential data.
- Protection of sensitive business information: The implementation of VPN ensures remote employees can safely connect to the company’s internal network without exposing confidential business information. By making it mandatory to use a VPN to access internal business systems, companies can safeguard their confidentiality and avoid compromising their security.
What are the types of VPNs used by remote employees?
The two types of VPNs that allow remote employees to securely access applications and other resources on the company’s internal network are site-to-site VPN and remote access VPN.
- Site-to-site VPN: This is a connection between two or more networks, such as a brand office network and a corporate network. They are usually used by enterprises with several offices in different locations that need to gain access to and use the corporate network regularly. With this type of VPN, companies can connect the corporate network securely with its remote offices to facilitate communication and sharing of resources.
- Remote access VPN: This enables users working remotely to securely access and use data and apps residing in the corporate data center or headquarters. The connection encrypts all traffic the users receive and send. This type of VPN creates a tunnel between the remote user and the organization’s network. This tunnel ensures everything is kept private even though the remote worker uses public Wi-Fi.
On the face of it, both these VPNs may sound similar but serve different purposes. A site-to-site VPN is a permanent connection designed to function as an encrypted link between offices in different locations. This connection is usually set up as an IPsec connection between the different networking equipment. On the other hand, a remote access VPN is a temporary connection. It is between remote workers and the headquarters. It is usually used for accessing the data center and resources. The connection may use IPsec or SSL.
In summation, a VPN helps create an encrypted connection between the user’s device and the company’s internal network or data centers. The technology can mask IP addresses, and the array of virtual servers ensures you can overcome geo-restrictions and censorship restrictions.
1. Is VPN a requirement for all companies?
No, using a VPN is a choice. Most modern businesses are moving their applications to the cloud, and as such, remote workers don’t need to connect to a VPN to access these applications.
However, if you are worried about protecting your confidential business data, implementing a VPN connection for remote workers is a significant step.
2. Why is using a VPN essential for remote working?
Data breaches, cyberattacks, and other risks are associated with remote work. VPNs help mitigate these risks. The technology creates an encrypted tunnel to secure your web traffic.
3. What are the security features of a good VPN for remote workers?
The essential security features of a good VPN are kill switches, multi-factor authentication, and robust encryption protocols. It is essential to use premium VPNs with a strict no-logs policy.
4. Are there any best practices to follow while working remotely?
You must avoid using public Wi-Fi networks because they are unreliable, and cyber criminals on the same network may access your confidential data. It is essential to keep your device software and apps up-to-date. Finally, use a VPN whenever you need to access company resources or connect to the internal network.
5. Does a VPN work on all devices?
Depending on the chosen VPN, it may work across all devices. It is essential for companies to do their due diligence to make an informed decision.
6. How can companies ensure their remote workers are using VPNs?
It is essential for companies to implement strict VPN usage policies so that the highest standards of security are met. They must monitor remote workers and their use of VPN.