VPNs have plenty of applications for home PC users, including bypassing geo-restrictions for streamed video content, safety while using a public Wi-Fi, and buying tickets for airline travel at a cheaper price (yes, really!).
A VPN, or virtual private network, can make these activities possible, as rather than connecting directly to the internet, a user connects to a server via an encrypted tunnel, and then in turn to the internet.
However, the benefits of a VPN go beyond home users, and can benefit businesses as well. And in this article we’ll explain why business VPN use is on the up.
Remote working worries
There are plenty of businesses that apply VPN technology for its remote workers. Remote workers often need to connect to company resources, such as documents or software on a company server – hence why remote access VPNs are useful.
Rather than having these accessed directly through the internet, it is considered more secure to make the connection through the encrypted tunnel of the VPN. This allows corporate assets to be accessed securely, and any business data that is transferred – either for an upload or a download – to be encrypted, and not out in the open for an ISP to analyze, or pirates to be trolling for.
This is even more important when the employee is doing their computing over a wireless connection. A wired connection is inherently more secure than a wireless one that introduces another point of potential insecurity. At least over a home connection through a router, the Wi-Fi can be setup with a password, and a security VPN protocol.
Most users use the WPA2 protocol, and while this was felt to be secure, in fact vulnerabilities have been identified for some years now, and the next generation replacement, WPA3 has not seen widespread deployment to date.
Privacy in public
Many employees functioning remotely find it useful to leave their homes and lots work from their local coffee shop, park or public library. The potential for getting hacked is even more likely when over a public Wi-Fi connection. This is because many do not have any password protection, so data can be grabbed over the air. Even those public Wi-Fi connections that have a password, have all the users that day sharing the same password, make them quite simple to hack.
The solution to this gaping vulnerability is to have the remote employees connect to the corporate server via their VPN. This way, if the Wi-Fi connection gets hacked, any corporate data is not out in the open and rather is protected through the encryption of the VPN tunnel.
Another security worry is the tracking of employees. This is because anyone can be tracked through their IP address, raising concerns of corporate espionage from competing businesses.
Another benefit of connecting to the internet via a VPN server intermediary is that the IP address leads back to the VPN server and not the employee. This makes it less likely to be hacked and far more secure from malware, such as ransomware or viruses, keeping employees more secure and less likely to experience downtime and corporate data loss.