Virtual Private Network Solutions Explained
What’s more alarming is that businesses are still deficient in their preparedness for data breaches. With remote working and hybrid workforces becoming a norm now, organizations are more at risk of exposing their sensitive data and tools. What can we rely upon in these circumstances? The solution is - Virtual Private Network (VPN) Solutions. We’re sure you have heard of it!
From helping businesses keep their communication private to helping long-distance couples interact securely, this article discusses Virtual Private Network Solutions, their benefits and whether your business should use one and a lot more. Grab your mocha, sit back and dive in!
The internet handles over 85,131 GB of traffic per second. That includes roughly 306.4 billion emails among other data. Well, your company’s communications (clients, vendor, internal) and your employees’ searches for business-related information are also significant contributors to those numbers. How does this concern you?
A breach or leak of your business data over the internet could cost you millions and tarnish your hard-earned reputation. With remote work gathering steam and remote users (read employees) staying connected with your business from just about every corner of the world, relying on a not-so-secure public network increases the risk tenfold. Picture this, your organization is uber-cool and allows employees to work from the comfort of their homes, cafes, or even the beachside shack. They are, of course, using a not-so-secure connection! Full marks on the coolness quotient and company branding but none for data security.
So, how do you retain the cool quotient without compromising on the security factor? Enter VPN (Virtual Private Network) Solutions. VPN is a technology that helps businesses establish a secure and encrypted connection over the internet between devices and their server. It masks your device's identity (IP or Internet Protocol) and encrypts data that it pushes out onto the internet.
VPN Solutions are becoming increasingly popular. Before investing in one, however, it's our solemn responsibility to help you make an informed decision, one paragraph at a time. (Don’t worry, we won’t bore you with the technical details!)
So, let’s dive in and understand what a VPN Solution is.
What Is A VPN Solution?
Virtual Private Network Solutions are a secure “tunnel” that encrypts your data and secures it from the risk of being leaked or breached. VPN establishes a private and secured connection over the internet enabling data to travel through a protected tunnel. Typically, if your employees are working remotely, they are using their own internet (often unsecure) or using a shared network. While trying to research data or simply to finish their tasks, in absence of a VPN, this data is left out in the open making it an easy prey for cybercriminals or hackers.
The VPN Solution secures your internet communications by establishing a secure virtual network. With a VPN Solution, your data requests are encrypted even before your ISP (internet service provider) receives them, ensuring that hackers cannot read your information. Even if they intercept your transmissions, it wouldn’t read much differently than when a toddler is given access to a keyboard!
So, whether your employees are working from their homes, local café or anywhere on the planet, VPN Solutions ensures the security and privacy of business data. We know what you are thinking - VPN Solutions are amazing! True, but it wasn’t always the case - let’s peep into its history and see how VPNs evolved.
VPN Solutions: Where It All Started
Microsoft can be lauded as the pioneer of VPN technology. Way back in 1996, one of their employees developed the peer-to-peer tunneling protocol or PPTP which created a private and secure connection between the internet and the device, laying the foundations of modern VPN Solutions. Although effective, with the software boom of the 90s and early 2000s, the importance of having secured access dawned on businesses. That is when VPN technology came into the pictures and soon VPN Solutions were developed for enterprises and small businesses alike.
So, surely you must be wondering, how do heck do VPN Solutions work? Let’s uncover that mystery!
VPN Solutions: Working Demystified
Many businesses across the globe are adopting remote and hybrid workforce approaches. Most businesses have also stated that a fraction of their workforce will be working remotely on a permanent basis. Does that mean the business can risk exposing its sensitive data? Nope, not a chance!
Therefore, businesses partner with VPN Solutions providers, who install their applications on all work devices and networks. Using a robust VPN Solution, the employees can connect to the internet via their respective ISP (internet service providers). However, as soon as they interact with a business application or network, the VPN connection is activated. All data is routed through a VPN server that encrypts all information to make it virtually unreadable!
VPN Solutions extend the secured network (used by the business) using ciphered or coded connections to ensure the connection is secure before providing access to the business network, applications or even the Google homepage if configured that way. Quite a breeze, right?
Now that we understand how VPN Solutions work, let’s decode the types of VPN Solutions.
Types Of VPN Solutions
There are a variety of VPN setups and protocols depending on business factors such as number of employees, or how sensitive the business data is. So, we have listed the two most common ones for your reading pleasure.
Remote Access VPN
This type of VPN allows your employees working remotely to log on to your office network from anywhere - home, café, restaurants or Metroville - if they have access to the internet. They will have access to all the company resources, as the data will be secure even if they use (gasp!) a public Wi-Fi.
Organizations with multiple offices in different geographic locations that need to access the corporate network use site-to-site VPN. This VPN type allows organizations to securely connect their corporate networks with their remote offices to communicate and share resources with them as a single network.
Next up, stakeholders who wish to invest in a VPN Solution often ask – how is a VPN Solution important or beneficial for their business? Well, we have answered that in the next section!
The Importance And Benefits Of VPN Solutions
VPN Solutions offer a host of benefits to organizations. Today, data security is of paramount importance and VPN technology provides a holistic solution to facilitate inter-office and remote work interactions without compromising on security.
Here are some of the benefits VPN Solutions provide:
VPN Solutions increase online safety and help secure sensitive data from hackers, government organizations and network operators as well. With a VPN Solution in place, ISPs will not be able to access and inspect a user's log, thereby protecting your online activity.
Secure Remote Access
Remote work is being hailed as the future and organizations must invest in a VPN service that ensures remote and secure access. The result is increased productivity as employees can work from anywhere as well as peace of mind for IT security managers.
Avoiding Speed Throttle
Certain ISPs are known to intentionally decrease internet speeds of certain IP addresses to maximize profits. VPN service’s mask the IP addresses and hence thwart any attempt by ISPs to throttle the speed.
Certain websites or apps may not be available in a specific country; however, it may be important to access them. VPN ensures that you can change your device's IP and access the site or app. This generally happens when remote employees are traveling to another country but need to access certain online resources.
VPN Solutions save businesses a lot of time and money by ensuring top-notch security and encryption of data. This saves a lot of headaches for the organization’s IT managers.
We know you have almost made up your mind to buy a VPN Solution for your organization. We would say that’s a damn good decision, as long as you’re aware of the top features that a VPN Solution must offer. That’s precisely what we have listed in the next section!
The Key Features Of A VPN Solution
Before we begin, we should mention that we've tried to cover a comprehensive list to give you a clear understanding of what features you should look for when investing in a VPN Solution. Although not exhaustive, these are the top features that you should look out for -
As a rule of thumb, AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption is always a good sign (both AES-128 and AES-256). It is an encryption standard that's used even by the NSA (National Security Agency), Microsoft and Apple. The reason is that it has yet to be officially cracked by any hacker!
Secure VPN Protocols
Look out for VPN protocols and the ability to choose between protocols before you connect to a VPN server.
DNS Leak Protections
DNS (Domain Name System) leak happens when the browser's DNS requests are sent to your ISP's DNS server directly without running them through the VPN. This can result in your ISP (or a lurking cybercriminal) viewing the websites you are accessing. (Scary, right?)
VPN Kill Switch
This feature instantly shuts off all internet access on your device if your connection to a VPN server is lost. This allows you to browse the internet securely.
While those were the top features of VPN Solutions, there’s a lot more that we will be seeing in VPN technology in the near future!
The Future Outlook Of VPN Solutions
The usage of VPN Solutions will become extremely common in the coming years, with every business, enterprise or mid-market using one. Experts further predict that the VPN market will grow more as the cybersecurity industry creates better encryption standards and routing protocols.
VPN Solutions of today are poised to manifest into an intelligent and automated software with Machine Learning algorithms detecting the looming dangers of data breaches before they can cause any damage. VPN technology itself is bound to change in the future as developments are currently being made on various aspects. This includes integrating VPN Solutions with a Zero Trust approach and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) as the number of IoT (Internet Of Things) and edge devices grow.
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