Why Your Small Business Should Use A VPN
According to the Australian government’s Cyber Security Strategy review last year, cyber crimes affected almost one in three Australian adults in 2018. Cyber crimes are also costing Australian businesses an estimated $29 billion per year, regardless of their size. One of the best ways to protect your organisation’s security infrastructure is to install a virtual private network (VPN). But how do they work and what are some of the advantages of a VPN for business?
What is a VPN?
In simple terms, virtual private networks are a group of computers or discrete networks connected together over a public network — namely, the internet. VPNs secure all of your computers’ internet connections making it harder for others to monitor your presence. In other words, all the data your business is receiving and sending is encrypted and can’t be intercepted and decoded. They do this by creating what is called a secure ‘digital tunnel’ between you and your online destinations. Others can’t see what’s going on in the tunnel, so they can’t monitor your web browsing.
VPNs also route your information through various services so that it can’t be traced back to you. As far as websites can tell, you’re at one of many worldwide servers that your encrypted data passes through. To them, it looks like you’re based at the location of the nearest server used by your VPN service.
How Does a VPN Work?
In order to access the internet, you need an IP address. This is how other computers find you to send information when you use the net for web browsing, email or any other online activity.
In the past, an IT team would implement VPNs using tools that generally combined software and hardware. If your business used a VPN, then the IT team would typically purchase an edge router or firewall that supported VPN tunnelling at the hardware level. They would then purchase the necessary number of VPN software licenses to service the required number of sites or users. This would mean your business would pay for every incoming VPN connection and every tunnel would originate at the user’s device and end at your organisation’s router.
These days, personal VPNs are being sold as services. Companies sell the software portion of the VPN equation to customers, which is basically a VPN application. Once installed, the app will establish the encrypted tunnel but via a server which is operated by the VPN vendor (rather than your company’s router). Then when employees start engaging with cyberspace, it appears as though they are surfing from the vendor’s server rather than their own business device/s.
When you connect to a VPN, you launch a VPN client on your computer (or click a link on a particular website), log in with your personal details, and your computer exchanges trusted keys with a remote server. When both computers have verified each other’s identity, all of your internet communication is encrypted and secured.
Why Use VPNs?
A secure VPN for business is valuable for a range of reasons including:
- Maintaining personal privacy by preventing others having access to your employees’ location, identity and online activities. The potentially darker side to this information gathering includes highly targeted fraud, online scams and identity theft.
- Protecting the privacy of your entire business and adding additional protection against hacking and surveillance via a dedicated IP address with a dedicated server. This includes ensuring employees that travel for work can access secure resources on the corporate network, including at airports and accommodation venues.
- Allowing you to access content only available in other countries due to geo-blocking. The term is commonly associated with restricting access to multimedia content (like films and TV shows) for licensing and copyright reasons. However, other uses of geo-blocking include enforcing price discrimination, fraud prevention and location-aware authentication.
- Avoiding bandwidth throttling, which is when your internet service provider (ISP) detects and de-prioritises specific types of internet traffic (like streaming video or torrent downloads), to alleviate congestion which leads to slower internet speeds. Using a VPN prevents your ISP from detecting the type of information being transferred, so your service functions at an optimal speed.
What To Look For in a VPN Solution
If you are looking for VPN solutions for business to secure your IoT privacy, offer remote access for your employees, or protect networking cloud data centres, you should look for providers that offer:
Will protect your organisation against viruses and malware by constructing walls against cyber threats and ensuring that devices that have access to the company’s network are compliant and registered.
Will ensure you prevent non-compliant devices from accessing your network, gain secure remote access by verifying user identities, and extend protection when users are off the VPN.
Access from anywhere
Will give any user secure access to your enterprise network from any device in any location at any time, including from a desktop, mobile device or Mac, Windows or Linux computer.
Will allow you to improve network operations and defend more effectively by giving you 360-degree insights into user and endpoint behaviour.
Will provide a consistent user experience across devices — on and off premises — via a single agent, which will simplify its management.
Need a robust VPN solution to protect your business from cyber crime? Contact the team at Deployus today!