On any given day, a typical California business can have employees connecting to and through their network from multiple locations. A majority are most likely at the office connecting online to cloud services, others may be traveling and using their mobile devices on a free Wi-Fi to check email, and a few may be working remotely from home.
The flexibility of today’s technology infrastructure has transformed how we work, which has done things like improve productivity and allow companies to take advantage of a remote workforce, but it’s also brought new security challenges.
Despite the security risks 81% of Americans use public Wi-Fi.
One way that businesses can enjoy the benefits of a mobile office while also keeping their connections secure is through the use of a virtual private network (VPN).
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a service that secures user connections no matter where they are. A business VPN is simply a service designed to meet the needs of companies, rather than only consumers.
A VPN application offers end-to-end encryption for connections from computers and mobile devices. The virtual private network routes your traffic through its secure servers and acts as a barrier between you and your online connection.
For example, if you’re connected to a free hotspot at an airport, instead of a hacker on the same network being able to spy on your traffic, you would be connecting first to the VPN’s server and then from that server to the internet, so your traffic is completely encrypted and unable to be hacked.
When at the office, a VPN can offer an additional layer of security when accessing cloud services and sharing files.
Reasons to Add a VPN to Your Cybersecurity Strategy
Just like any other part of your cybersecurity strategy – firewall, antivirus, anti-phishing app, etc. – a VPN gives you another layer of protection that can prevent data breaches from yet another entry point to your network and data.
Here are several ways that a business VPN can improve your network security.
1. Secure Mobile Connections
Whether you use a BYOD (bring your own device) policy or company-owned devices, mobile security is a big issue. Mobile use has continued to grow and take over more of the work from desktop devices. Currently 91% of corporate employees use at least one work-related mobile app.
It’s unreasonable to expect no one will connect to a free Wi-Fi when on their mobile device, so the next best thing is securing their connection, which is exactly what a VPN will do.
2. Prevent “Man-in-the-Middle” Attacks
Some types of phishing scams are related to “man-in-the-middle” attacks which are attacks that send you to a different URL than the one you’re intending to visit. For example, you could try to visit LinkedIn.com, and instead your browser is taken to a site that is either loaded with Adware or downloads a malicious script.
A VPN stops these types of attacks by blocking that redirection and ensuring you get to the correct URL that you’ve typed in.
3. Secure Remote Workers
Remote workers are becoming a major part of the 21st century workforce because they’re shown to be more productive and save companies money in office-related costs.
But when you have people connecting from their home networks, it can lead to varying levels of security and leave your business data at risk.
A VPN can be used by all your employees, no matter what their location. This allows you to ensure a secure, encrypted connection to your data from any remote worker’s wireless network.
4. More Secure Data Sharing
Today’s offices are more collaborative and that means sensitive data is often shared across your company network. Using a VPN gives added security to keep sensitive files from being intercepted when they’re being sent across your network through file sharing applications.
Some of the standard security protocols that you’ll see on many business VPNs include:
- Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
- Secure Shell (SSH)
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
- Transport Layer Security (TLS)
5. Secure Connections to Cloud Services
A majority of businesses use at least one cloud service in their workflow, and many use several of them. The most popular cloud service is Office 365 and it’s also one that’s being increasingly targeted by hackers looking to steal login credentials.
Connecting to your cloud services through a secure VPN offers additional security to keep your traffic and data from being compromised. It also ensures that no matter where your team is connecting to Office 365 from, a hacker on the same network won’t be able to spy on and steal their usernames and passwords.
6. Block Unsecure Traffic
Certain types of business VPNs include what’s called a “kill switch” that temporarily disables all internet and network traffic if the VPN is disabled. This safeguard ensures that a malicious script can’t disable your VPN in order to download malware onto your device.
Learn More About Protecting Your Office Connections
Do you have users connecting to your network and cloud services from multiple locations? Most offices do. Let Neuron Computers help you ensure that your team is connecting safely no matter what type of Wi-Fi they may be using.
Contact us today for a free IT security consultation. Call 1-833-4-NEURON or reach out online.