Why Your Remote Business Needs A VPN
By Rylie Holt
With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses moved to remote operations – and many experts suggest this is set to be a permanent change. As businesses recognize that they can save substantial overhead by dropping office space, and the many related expenses, those who can continue to operate remotely. In order to do so, however, these businesses will need appropriate remote business tools, including a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN is a simple tool that allows remote users to securely connect with a central network, for example, your business’s main server. It’s the best way for team members to access key resources, no matter where they’re located. And if your business remains remote in the long-term, that security will be even more important.
Remote Beyond The Home Office
Any time team members are working remotely, a secure internet connection is important. You don’t want to compromise your business’s data in the course of enabling staff to do their job. But while security is an issue when staff works from home, the problem becomes much worse once your team starts being able to move around again. For example, if they’re working from a coffee shop or library with a public Wi-Fi connection, a VPN acts as a secure gateway to key resources. It’s also a powerful tool to have onboard if team members have to travel for work.
What’s The Threat?
Obviously, there are many different types of digital threats that could present a problem when teams work remotely, but a VPN is typically positioned to protect against particular kinds of attacks. In the case of a public Wi-Fi connection, a VPN protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, which attempts to intercept communications. That might not be significant for someone sending a personal email from a coffee shop, but it could represent a serious issue when sensitive client information is in play.
VPNs Don’t Work Alone
As important as they are, you can’t expect a VPN to carry the entire weight of your business’s remote security needs. Beyond mandating VPN use, then, businesses should use an active directory and multifactor authentication. This will secure your business’s perimeter, whereas the VPN is a path through a locked gate. They operate together to secure the system.
Your business’s VPN is a security tool, but it’s not like a password. If it was, everyone would use them. Rather, many businesses have been slow to adopt a VPN-based security because the connections can be spotty, leading to reduced productivity, and depending on the type and scale, they can also be expensive, and your company should take this into account. Right now, many companies are seeing at least some reduced productivity because of the combination of stress and sudden changes, and depending on team needs, a VPN may not be the ideal first line of defense.
As with any other business decision, VPN adoption should be strategic, and it requires proper education to ensure it’s used properly and consistently. Still, with long-term remote operations set to shape the next phase of work, it may be time to make the transition. The longer you wait, the longer you leave your company’s data open to attack.