Our Guide to Virtual Private Networks and how they can help protect your business.
As ransomware attacks grow increasingly more common in the modern business world, companies turn to more advanced cybersecurity solutions to protect their proprietary information. The uncomfortable truth is that most companies are utterly underprepared for data breaches, despite how commonplace they are becoming. It has become necessary for companies to adopt a proactive, security-first mindset to ensure protective measures are in place before any disaster strikes. VPN’s have become one of the most reliable tools to keep organizations safe and protected from all forms of data breaches.
What is a Business VPN?
Data breaches and theft of protected information are happening more often, cybercriminals and multinational hacking groups are becoming more devious, and the amount of compromised data is increasing rapidly year over year. According to recent statistics, ransomware attacks alone cost businesses $75 billion last year, and that figure is projected to rise to about $6 trillion in 2021! The average cost of even a simple malware attack on a company is $2.4 million, and the average price in time is 50 working days. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) exist to help safeguard against these potential attacks. Business VPNs, in particular, protect the data employees send and receive over virtual connections and safeguard their information connections from unauthorized intrusion. Essentially, a VPN is a way to send data back and forth through an encrypted private “tunnel” that runs through a public network. Using industry-standard encryption, you can guarantee that your information is confidential and secure.
How is a Business VPN different from a Personal VPN?
VPNs have become commonplace, not only in the work environment—you may already use a VPN for your personal internet connections. Because VPNs essentially forward all your internet traffic to the data server, they have become increasingly popular to bypass and browse geographically restricted services and websites. Most commonly, they are used to access streaming services while abroad or G-Suite services in countries with censored internet connections. They are also widely used while on a public wifi connection to ensure your data is protected from snoopers. The difference with a business VPN is that your company server is hosted locally at your place of business, and connections to your workplace, from all your employees, are fully encrypted. This means your VPN delivers a secured web connection to company devices, no matter where employees connect to the internet. Once your company servers are encrypted, all of that data is private and secure from hackers, snoopers, competitors, advertisers, fake wi-fi hotspots, and even governments. There are numerous specific reasons your business could benefit from a VPN.
Remote Server Access
What rule says you must carry all your company data on devices when you travel? The loss or theft of a device or issues with travel and customs can cause loss of access and security to that data. Increasingly common are businesses using the cloud to store and access data remotely, which then presents a new problem: securely accessing your cloud data. A business VPN, by design, gives you the ability to connect remotely to your company’s Network Access Server (NAS), a dedicated server, or software application on a shared server, which is connected to your company’s internal network. When an employee needs to connect to the business’s network they can launch their VPN client application which establishes the encrypted tunnel into the NAS. This allows remote workers to access anything on the local network as if they were inside the office.
Secure Sharing of Information
The inherent issue with data is that while it needs to be secured, it is really only useful if it can be accessed when needed. The best security in the world is essentially pointless if you cannot access and share that data when you need to. One of the most practical applications of a Business VPN is the ability to safely and securely share access between coworkers and even those external to your business or organization. By encrypting not only access to your company servers but all traffic on your internet connection, you can ensure that files uploaded to email servers, remote storage, or any network outside of your business are still locked and only accessible with the correct encryption key.
Even an internet connection secured with a firewall and antivirus protection in place is not immune to hackers or impervious to digital intrusion. In fact, statistics show that most antivirus programs miss about 75% of prevalent malware and other viruses. While these programs are great for defending against known viruses, malware, and trojans, their databases must be kept current and often struggle to maintain pace with malicious actors.
A VPN replaces a typical unsecured & unencrypted connection with end-to-end encryption of all the data that passes through it. They ensure the protection of proprietary company data and trade secrets, internal documents and communications, and sensitive client and customer information.
Avoid Geographical Limitations
The final, but no less important use of a Business VPN is to ensure your employees have internet access no matter where they are traveling in the world. Some countries have a censored internet which can seriously obstruct the workflow for employees and executives outside of the office. By connecting to your VPN service, you are redirecting all your internet traffic through your physical business location, making your internet traffic appear as if you were browsing from your home location. For example, if you are doing business in China where there is a ban on Google products, you would not be able to even access services like Gmail, or Google Search. By connecting and routing your traffic through your company VPN, you can overcome such roadblocks.
Your company’s proprietary data is an invaluable commodity in the modern digital world, and ensuring its security is more important now than ever. Managing your company IT practices, using proper encryption and other secure services, and properly training your employees on Information Security are all vital steps to ensure your company is prepared before a data breach occurs, and can save your company up to 47% of the costs according to a recent article published in the New York Times. By considering adding a VPN to your company’s IT toolbox, you are further eliminating the possibility of a devastating loss. While it is true that a business VPN not might be the complete solution for every type of company, the security and flexibility it offers can help those organizations looking to increase the protection of their data.