Remote work is the post-pandemic norm for businesses. Companies can cut back on office space and equipment costs, and enjoy more robust and borderless hiring, with location no longer a consideration.
However, remote work leaves companies vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To ensure secure remote work, organizations must implement a business VPN.
Not only will this secure their resources, but considering the average cost of a data breach, which IBM puts at USD 4.35 million, it’ll also help consolidate the gains (savings on office space, gadgets, and transit) made by adopting a remote work culture – money which would’ve been spent on remediating data breaches.
If you can access an organization’s network without being on its premises, then you have remote access to such a network. Scenarios that require remote access include employees who work from home or an executive who accesses company data for a meeting overseas.
A VPN is the modern way to access a corporate resource securely. Deploying a VPN requires the following steps.
Once the device is connected, the employee has secure remote access to the company network.
A business VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection between a user’s device and the company network. There are two types of VPN.
When remote employees try to access company resources, say from public Wi-Fi, their computer sends a query to the company server. On its own, this query is vulnerable to attacks. With a VPN, however, their query and IP address are encrypted and indecipherable to malicious actors.
A proxy server functions like an intermediary between your device and the server that your device is communicating with. Instead of sending queries directly to a receiving server, your device sends them to the proxy server, and the proxy server then sends them to the receiving server.
The receiving server repeats this process when it returns data to your device. The effect of this is to hide the identity of your device.
A proxy server is similar to a VPN because both tools hide the identity of your device. The difference, however, is that while a VPN will act on all traffic entering and exiting a device, a proxy’s site of action is more specific to a single application.
This kind of VPN integrates two or more networks into a single virtual network. Organizations with multiple office locations use site-to-site VPNs to integrate the networks at these locations into one single network.
A Site-to-site VPN differs from other VPNs because it allows for network implementation. Rather than installing VPN software on each employee’s device, you can install a site-to-site VPN at the network’s edge.
Connecting to the internet is hazardous for someone with valuable data to protect. You can never tell who’s snooping on your traffic. Not using a VPN can allow other internet users to view your location and all your online activities. With the knowledge of your IP address and access to the activities on the web, a threat actor has all they need to hit your network with DDOS and MITM attacks, compromising your organization’s data.
Threat actors can go as far as setting up public Wi-Fi access points to snoop on user traffic. Organizations have no control over the network that a remote employee uses to access company data. That’s why it’s imperative to implement a business VPN to ensure a safe connection for your employees. A VPN will secure employee connections, making it much harder for a threat actor to spy on them.
One of the ways a threat actor can get inside a corporate network is by executing a Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attack. This attack involves a threat actor’s interception of outgoing network traffic, which is only possible if the source nodes’ identities are known. A VPN helps stop this by encrypting both the IP address and the content of any traffic leaving the corporate network.
With a VPN, an employee can be off your organization’s premises and connect safely to your resources. For an organization, this means a reduction in the cost of acquiring office spaces; for an employee, it takes away the need to, and therefore the cost of, commuting to work.
A study by Stanford in 2015 showed that working from home increases productivity by 13%. This increase was attributed to a more convenient workspace in which the employees were more comfortable.
A VPN also ensures that your contractors can work securely on your system remotely. It also means business continuity, as your employees can work from anywhere, even in a catastrophe like a global pandemic.
A VPN gives you control of your network. It ensures that only people with valid credentials can access specific company resources.
Accessing your cloud resources over the internet without a VPN is a catastrophe waiting to happen. That will increase the risk of a data breach and leave your cloud provider and other occupants of the environment (in a shared storage space) vulnerable to supply chain attacks. Using a VPN drastically reduces such risks.
A VPN lets you monitor your organization’s network and see who has access to what. This can help identify attacks and is also valuable during remediation because it helps ensure mistakes aren’t repeated.
By providing secure remote access, a VPN offers the immense convenience of working from anywhere worldwide, on whichever kind of connection (Wired connection or wireless). This access benefits remote employees and executives away from their organization’s premises.
This VPN approach routes all network traffic through a VPN to appropriate destination nodes, meaning that all communications with any external network must pass through the VPN on their way out. A standard VPN uses a full tunnel approach.
This kind of VPN is usually very secure; however, one downside is that a full-tunnel VPN may slow down the connection due to the traffic volume that goes through it.
This approach routes only select traffic through the VPN. It’s an ideal choice for companies that need to balance secure access with connection speeds. Split tunneling allows you to route only the essential part of your network traffic through the VPN split tunnel connection, while nonessential traffic uses the standard connection.
Split tunneling is usually a faster approach compared to full tunneling.
This approach hosts the proxy on the cloud, which stands between you and your resources. Therefore traffic has to go through the proxy to gain access to resources on the cloud. Similarly, to gain access to on-premises resources, traffic has to go through the proxy on the cloud, then back on-premises.
These are VPNs designed for corporate use. All kinds of Business VPNs have specific use cases that make them unique. There are two types of business VPNs:
This type of VPN is deployed on the premises of an organization. On-Prem VPNs are hardware-based, which means that they require constant maintenance, cannot scale easily, and require expertise to deploy. This kind of business VPN is very expensive to deploy.
A cloud VPN is simply a VPN that is hosted in the cloud. This kind of VPN is very easy to deploy because it does not require the user to own any hardware. Cloud VPNs scale easily and are very cheap when compared to on-prem VPNs. Use cases for cloud VPNs include
This kind of VPN is suited to remote employees who access the corporate network from a static position outside the network. I.e., employees who access a network with a stable connection like Wi-Fi. This kind of VPN will sever the connection once the user goes beyond the Wi-Fi range.
It is most suited for employees who work from home or just anybody who can maintain a stable connection.
This kind of VPN is the same as a remote access VPN, with one significant difference- It doesn’t have to sever the connection to corporate resources when the user goes beyond the range of Wi-Fi. It is suited for employees who need help to guarantee a safe, continuous connection on the go.
This VPN connects two networks at different locations, forming them into one virtual network. It is usually hosted on a network instead of devices like other business VPNs.
All VPNs protect network traffic. However, each type of VPN has specific use cases and may not be suitable for others.
On the one hand, consumer VPNs are designed to offer an individual as much anonymity as possible online. The VPN achieves this feat with a dynamic IP address system shared by many users, making it virtually impossible to identify a particular user. On the other hand, business VPNs use a static IP address system to give secure remote access to company resources.
By now, you must’ve understood that business VPNs are indispensable if you must provide secure access to corporate resources, both on-prem and in the cloud, especially for a remote workforce; here’s how Perimeter81 can help.
Perimeter 81 has everything you need to keep your business secure. With its dedicated VPN servers hosted in 35 geographic locations worldwide, unlimited data and bandwidth, a single cloud management platform that allows enhanced visibility into your cloud resources, and customer service that never sleeps, your business has never been this safe.
Want to experience security like never before? Check out Perimeter 81’s Business VPN.