Security and privacy are two of the top concerns for businesses and this is becoming more and more important for organizations that have remote or traveling employees. Many employees choose to work from home, on the road, or in hotels and coffee shops. However, these options open businesses up for the possibilities of security breaches and cyber-hacking. One way to help mitigate these challenges is through the use of VPN or Virtual Private Network services.
What Is A Virtual Private Network?
The first thing you might be thinking is, ‘What is a Virtual Private Network or VPN?” and that’s a great question. Basically a VPN is a group of computers connected together over the internet through a private ‘tunnel’ of sorts, using what is called encapsulation to keep the data protected. The VPN encrypts all information to and from your computer. When using a VPN, you connect to the service either by launching a VPN client on your computer or by going to a special website where you log in with your credentials. Once you do that your computer exchanges an encrypted key with the VPN server to verify you are who you say you are. After both your computer and the server have authenticated each other, all of the information sent over the internet to and from your computer are encrypted and safe from eavesdropping and hacking.
Using a VPN is good business sense especially if your business has sensitive information that needs to be shared among employees but shouldn’t be seen by anyone else. It is also essential if your business has employees working remotely or who travel frequently for work. Use of the internet in shared public locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and airports are some of the worst spots for having your personal or business data stolen. It should be your company’s policy to use a VPN service especially when public internet spots are being used regularly. It only takes one data breach to cause your business to have a bad day, week, month, or year.
Why Do Businesses Use VPN Services?
As mentioned above, businesses use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in order to make sure all sensitive data exchanged via the internet is secure and protected from prying eyes and hackers. Without a secure, encrypted connection you can never be sure that your data is safe.
More and more businesses these days have employees that not only travel the world but also work remotely from home and other public places. Public wi-fi is notoriously insecure and fraught with eavesdroppers trying to steal whatever valuable information they can get their hands on to sell on the dark web or plan other nefarious wrong doings.
It’s also important to note here that even if your employees are exclusively onsite, having a VPN service that they work within is a great way to make sure all communications have improved security to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Now you also should be aware that there is no such thing as a totally protected network. There will always be advances in hacking techniques and enterprising individuals who make it their business to breach your business. However, securing your network with a VPN makes your data much harder to steal and will more than likely make the baddies look for an easier, less secure target.
How To Choose A VPN Service
Now choosing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service might seem a monumental task because there are so many services out there. However, once you know what to look for narrowing down the services gets a lot easier.
1. You Get What You Pay For
First off, there are a lot of free VPN services out there and it might be tempting to just get one of those and move on. However, you get what you pay for. Your logic might be that having a free service is better than not having any at all but the reality is that a free service might actually make things worse. Just don’t do it. In order to get a service that really protects your business and keeps its data secure you’re going to have to pay for it, but don’t worry most are fairly inexpensive.
2. You Never Want Traffic Logs
3. Security Protocols
There are many different security protocols used on VPN services, some are more secure than others. OpenVPN is one of the safest security technologies ever created. It has many advantages over all the other protocols including completely bypassing firewalls, an unbreakable virtual tunnel, the strongest encryption available, and it’s simple and easy to use. So when choosing a VPN provider make sure they use OpenVPN as one of their security protocols and only use that.
You do not want to use any providers that use PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol) because of all the protocols out there, it is the most vulnerable to security issues.
4. Data Capacity
Many VPN services limit your bandwidth and data capacity which can cause issues for you and your business if you run out of capacity when you need it most. Always try to use a VPN service that offers unlimited data capacity so you’re not left without service and protection.
Ultimately you also want a VPN service that has servers in multiple countries. This makes access to VPN services easier and also provides options when traveling. There are times when you are either out of your country and need to access websites at home or you are at home and need to access websites and services in other countries that may be blocked from your location.
Example, when in Europe there are some U.S. websites like Netflix or banking institutions such as PayPal that will not accept connections from foreign servers. If you’re traveling this can be a huge issue. Having a VPN service that has servers all around the world allows you to connect to a server in the U.S. so you can contact those sites when you need them the most.
6. Multiple Connections
You also need a VPN service that allows more than one connection at a time. This is needed for your personal usage in order to connect all your devices such as laptop, mobile phone, tablets, other family members devices, etcetera. However, it’s absolutely vital for a business in order to connect all your employees’ devices through the VPN service.
7. Kill Switch System
You need to make sure that if your VPN service goes down for any reason at all that your data doesn’t get dumped onto the regular internet. This is why you need to make sure whatever VPN service you pick has a Kill Switch System in place that locks down the connection should it fail for any reason. This prevents your computer from defaulting to using an open, unsecured internet connection.
Although choosing a VPN connection might seem a harrowing feat, it is something that you should always take seriously. Every day more security and data breaches are being found. Being proactive in protecting yourself and your business from these challenges is a best practice for anyone wishing to protect sensitive data. So following the above recommendations is an excellent step towards keeping your business safe and moving forward towards success.
Your business data and communications need to be secure. If you need help making sure every aspect of your business is secure, call DataOne Networks today at (888) 825-2987 or fill out our online Contact Us form here. We can help you succeed.