You've probably noticed that many individuals and organizations have jumped onto the VPN (virtual private network) bandwagon. It can be easy to think of such technologies as a blanket solution to the many challenges your business is facing. However, technology is comprised of a wide variety of options and solutions, and the key is to find the "right" one for your business's needs. But how will you know what types of technologies are worth investing in? Is VPN just another tech buzzword?
A closer look at VPN and how it works
Businesses nowadays are going the extra mile to find more secure ways to use the internet, and one of the most straightforward defenses to fill in this gap is to use a VPN. In essence, VPNs provide an anonymous and secure way to browse the web by encrypting data and tunneling it through a private channel. This secure connection is enabled by a VPN provider, so you're browsing via this third-party computer, meaning, sites you visit can't track your IP address, only the address of the VPN computer. It's an excellent tool for businesses to enable remote employees to send and receive information without leaving any digital breadcrumbs.
For example, if you're on vacation and want to communicate with your assistant regarding some important transaction, it can be dangerous to do it unless you have a secure connection. Naturally, both of you would have to share sensitive details like corporate files that you wouldn't want any outsider or third party to come across. So how will you be able to establish a safe connection? This is where VPN comes in handy. All you have to do is launch a VPN client, log in, and exchange information without any risks. As long as you and your assistant have verified each other as authentic, all of your online communication is masked from outsiders.
Keep in mind that private browsing or incognito mode is not the same as a VPN. A private or an incognito browser doesn't store any data on site and pages you visit, nor will it store any login details or cookies. As soon as you shutdown your private windows, all data disappears. VPNs, by contrast, hide your originating IP address and the content you're visiting. What can only be seen is that you're connected to various internet addresses but not the information you're exchanging with those sites.
Benefits and limitations of using a VPN
To fully grasp the concept of VPNs, you also need to understand its advantages and limitations. This can also help you decide whether they're right for you. Here are the pros and cons of a VPN:
- Provides secure connection and geographical censorship
- Allows employees to work remotely, easily share files, and access relevant data — making it optimal for businesses that require operations even while in transit
- Bolsters data security and privacy via an encrypted tunnel out to the web
- Lets you save money by eliminating the need for costly leased lines, reducing long-distance phone charges, and offloading support costs associated with server maintenance
- Internet-based VPNs allow you to run several office branches across remote and international locations by tapping into public lines and network capability that are readily available
- Increased latency and slower internet speeds due to encryption and distance
- No direct control because it relies on the internet service provider that supplies the VPN
For a company looking for a secure network infrastructure, VPN is a safe and reliable security solution. If you plan on using a VPN service, contact us today to find out more about our managed security services and let us help minimize the drawbacks for you.