What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Why it Matters


CyNexLink Blog   •   August 4, 2017


Remote and mobile work have become an integral part of most businesses with ever-advancing technological tools at our fingertips.

However with that expansion comes added security risks. The critical information of any employee could easily be compromised if they use unsecured remote connections. See Shadow IT. This is where a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, comes in handy.

A VPN is a private network of computers fused to establish a secure connection over a public network, or the Internet. It can protect data sent in messaging apps, emails and can safeguard online activity.

Wi-Fi security: It can help you connect to Wi-Fi outside of the office in generally unprotected areas like an airport or bookstore. The VPN will encrypt the activity of the user.

Anonymity: A VPN can keep communications secure from Internet service providers and allows users to use anonymous browsing due to the encryption.

Access to the web: Certain websites may not be accessible in certain countries. Organizations like Netflix or Hulu may block access to their web content based on geographical location. But a VPN can bypass these constraints.

Apart from security, a VPN can also allow businesses to glean a competitive advantage over others. As an example, a VPN allows you to connect to international servers, so businesses can monitor what their and their competitor’s advertisements look like in other markets. This can help businesses make better decisions on their marketing content.

When choosing a VPN, it’s best to look at several important features: price, speed, locations and privacy.

There are also different types of VPNs. Here are a few and the benefits and drawbacks of each:

IPSec VPN: Offers a remote access to the network through an application. These were developed for businesses that are spread out globally to connect on one central office network.

· Benefit: Creates a permanent connection between locations.

· Drawback: It can be difficult to restrict access because most corporate resources are available on the network.

SSL VPN: Built to benefit the remote worker, this VPN doesn’t have an application. This type is best for businesses that have teams that sometimes work remotely.

· Benefit: Easy to install because of the lack of an application.

· Drawback: Security might not be as good as an IPSec VPN.

Despite the positives of a VPN, there are still businesses that operate without them. If a company regularly has employees working remotely, then a VPN is a must. Moreover, the cost of a VPN is dwarfed in comparison to its necessity.

If customers even suspect that their information is at risk, they will generally take their business elsewhere. If companies want to avoid these standard, yet intricate security mistakes, then they need a strengthened security plan devised by a team of dedicated IT professionals.

If you’re interested in fundamental IT terminology and how it applies in everyday business, head over to our archives.

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