We’ve seen a world of change with the entrance of digital technology and the internet over the past several decades. The technological advancements have allowed people to live, move and work through mobile. We are no longer confined the limits of our geographical locations, let alone the brick and mortar of an office space. The internet alone has opened up doors for business and commerce to run fluidly through the connection of computer screens. However, this transition has not happened flawlessly. With the expansion of the internet have come several glitches and security issues. Problems like hacking, malware, viruses and more have created headaches for all types of internet users alike. When it comes to doing work or running your business online or through a network, the issue of breaching security with data and private files becomes a daunting risk for anyone involved.
The creation of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) was to help alleviate these types of situations. A VPN primary function is to connect computers and their users in different locations together through a private or public network connection. These VPNs work to increase the security and privacy of the networks. They were originally created by big businesses and organizations who suffered the same fears and issues of the possibility that the information they were sharing and transferring online could be potentially be accessed by someone outside of their “network.” A VPN essentially serves as a private internet within the internet. Through encryptions and tunneling protocols, they are able to secure the information being connected and identify the users accessing the network. These big businesses probably could not have imagined that the VPN would grow to serve all of the users and purposes that it does today, both on a large and small scale.
Companies and their employees are constantly seeking ways to cut cost, raise performance and increase revenue. Over recent years, more studies are popping up about the benefits of working remotely. Not only does it decrease costs for overhead, it also provides the worker with the flexibility of choosing when and where they work from. Working remotely is easier now more than ever with accessibility to the internet from just about anywhere. The only obstacles for companies and their employees is to make sure that they can all access the same network from these different locations, and to also ensure that the information being accessed and transferred through the network maintains its security. A VPN is the perfect addition to the equation of working remotely. Remote access to a VPN allows a user to directly plug into the network server from wherever they are.
Two major components are required for remote-access VPN to function smoothly. The first is a network-access-server (NAS). A NAS is also known as a remote-access server (RAS) or a media gateway. The NAS allows the user to connect to the server through the internet in order to access the VPN. Identification is verified through certain credentials that the user must enter in order to be authenticated and given access to the VPN. This is a security step to help ensure the privacy of the VPN. The other important element for remote-access VPN is the client software. If an individual wishes to access the VPN from their home computer, that computer must have software that enables them to establish and maintain a connection to the VPN. This software helps manage the encryption that is tunneled to make sure that the VPN remains secure. Either way, a company can choose to either purchase and manage their own VPN or outsource through a third party vendor to handle the ins and outs for them and their employees.
Most VPNs function as “site-to-site.” All this means is that it allows offices in different locations to work with one another over a public network, like the internet, with a secure connection. There are two main forms of site-to-site VPNs – intranet-based and extranet-based. An intranet-based connection brings together a single company’s different locations through a single network. An extranet-based network allows different companies to work together through a secured network. However, through an extranet-based network these individual companies can still securely work through their individual intranets.
It is important to remember to have these VPN set up both professionally and securely. When setting up a VPN, the ultimate goal is to make sure that systems and data being exchanged are secured through a remote connection. Getting an IT professional to set up and even maintain the VPN for you is probably the safest way to go. It might be best to be extra cautious and set up certain limitations on what can and/or cannot be done through the remote connection, whether processing data, sending signed documents, financial exchanges, etc. Establish a crystal clear understanding for remote workers to understand what they can and cannot do on the network and why. If you are the remote worker, make sure you have a true understanding of what processes you can carry out on the secured network in order to avoid any problems.
You must be extra cautious when using a remote VPN network for a number of reasons. Primarily, you want to ensure that if your computer or electronic device is stolen or lost that the network access can not be violated. Accessing a VPN through a public place allows the risk of sensitive material to be seen by other people. Try to remain extra cautious of these possible mishaps to avoid any violations of privacy and security.
If you are a company or employer offering remote VPN access, it would be wise to consider providing the remote employees with company computers and electronics set up to the VPN network. This allows the company or employer direct access and control to the set up of the VPN connection and establishing extra security features to avoid outside threats like hacking, viruses, malware, etc.
Conclusively, remote working has dramatically increased over the past several years. Several studies have reported that remote working has a positive impact on employee and overall company productivity. From C-level to entry-level, employees can benefit from the freedom and flexibility of being able to access their work from wherever they want!
Thankfully, this freedom doesn’t have to come at the cost of security anymore. With an established virtual private network, companies and their employees can ensure privacy and security when managing their work and information without being restricted to their physical office space. Make sure to have a VPN set up professionally and securely. Find the right type of secured network connection that works best for your business and employees. Then, figure out whether you want access to be granted from personal devices or designated company devices to minimize any potential security issues. The world is truly your oyster. The internet and technology can allow you to bring your work with you wherever you go. A VPN adds the security needed to make sure that you can handle your work and information without any high risk of security and privacy violations.