A VPN can be a great tool for a business to utilise, helping to improve their cyber security as well as a host of other benefits. It’s an especially useful tool in the age of remote and flexible working, where a VPN can ensure security protocols are used wherever the person working is and whatever network they use. In this article we go through what a VPN is and how it can be useful for your business.
How a VPN Works
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, works by creating a secure and encrypted connection between your device (such as a computer, phone, or tablet) and a server operated by the VPN provider. When you connect to the internet through a VPN, your traffic is routed through this encrypted connection, making it more difficult for others to intercept or view your online activity.
Here’s a more detailed explanation of how a VPN works:
- You install a VPN client on your device, which allows you to connect to the VPN provider’s servers.
- When you connect to the VPN, the client software encrypts your internet traffic and sends it through a secure tunnel to the VPN provider’s server.
- The VPN provider’s server decrypts your traffic and sends it on to its destination, such as a website or online service.
- When the website or online service responds, the data is encrypted by the VPN provider’s server and sent back through the secure tunnel to your device.
- The VPN client software on your device decrypts the response and displays it for you to view.
By using a VPN, you can protect your online privacy and security by hiding your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic. This makes it more difficult for hackers, advertisers, and other third parties to track your online activity or steal your personal information. Additionally, a VPN can allow you to access content that may be restricted in your location, such as streaming services or websites that are blocked by your internet service provider or government.
What protocols does a VPN use?
A VPN uses different protocols to establish a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the VPN provider’s server. The choice of protocol may depend on factors such as security, speed, and compatibility with different devices and platforms. Some of the commonly used VPN protocols are:
- OpenVPN: This is an open-source protocol that is considered to be highly secure and versatile. It supports multiple encryption algorithms and can work on different platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- L2TP/IPSec: This protocol combines the security of IPsec with the ease of use of L2TP. It provides strong encryption and is supported by most operating systems.
- PPTP: Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is an older and less secure protocol that uses a relatively weaker encryption method. It is still supported by some VPN providers, but it is not recommended for security-conscious users.
- SSTP: Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft. It uses SSL/TLS encryption and is supported on Windows devices.
- WireGuard: This is a newer and highly efficient protocol that uses state-of-the-art cryptography to provide strong security and high performance. It is becoming increasingly popular among VPN providers.
In addition to these protocols, some VPN providers may use their proprietary protocols to offer unique features or improve performance. It’s important to choose a VPN provider that uses strong and reliable protocols to ensure the security of your online activity.
Why is it important for a business to use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be important for businesses in several ways, including:
- Security: A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection between a business’s network and the internet. This helps to protect sensitive data and communications from cyber threats such as hackers, snoops, and eavesdroppers. By using a VPN, businesses can keep their data secure while employees are accessing the internet from remote locations or while using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Privacy: A VPN can help to maintain the privacy of a business’s internet activity by masking their IP address and location. This can help to prevent competitors or other prying eyes from tracking or monitoring their online activity.
- Access to restricted content: Many businesses operate in countries where certain websites or online services are blocked or restricted. By using a VPN, businesses can bypass these restrictions and access the content they need to conduct their operations.
- Remote work: With more and more employees working from home or other remote locations, a VPN can provide a secure and reliable connection to a business’s network and resources. This can help to ensure that employees can access the tools and information they need to be productive, regardless of where they are working from.
Overall, using a VPN can help businesses to protect their sensitive data, maintain their privacy, and ensure that their employees can access the resources they need to be productive and successful.
Proffered Business VPN
There are many VPN services available for businesses, each with their own set of features and pricing. Here are a few options to consider:
- NordVPN Teams: This VPN service is designed specifically for businesses and offers a range of security features, including 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication, and dedicated IP addresses. NordVPN Teams also includes a centralised management console, which allows administrators to easily manage and monitor employee access to the VPN.
- ExpressVPN for Business: ExpressVPN is a popular VPN service that offers a business plan with advanced security features, including split tunnelling, DNS leak protection, and automatic kill switch. ExpressVPN also offers a dedicated account manager and 24/7 customer support for businesses.
- CyberGhost Business VPN: CyberGhost offers a business VPN service that includes unlimited bandwidth, 256-bit encryption, and support for up to 7 simultaneous connections. CyberGhost also includes a management console for administrators to manage user accounts and permissions.
- Private Internet Access Business VPN: Private Internet Access (PIA) is a VPN service that offers a business plan with advanced security features such as ad and malware blocking, split tunnelling, and multiple VPN gateways. PIA also includes a centralised management console for administrators to manage user accounts and permissions.
When selecting a VPN service for your business, it’s important to consider factors such as the level of security offered, ease of use, customer support, and pricing. It’s also important to ensure that the VPN service is compatible with your existing IT infrastructure and software.
A router VPN is a VPN connection that is established directly from a router, rather than from a device such as a computer or mobile phone. When a VPN connection is established from a router, all devices connected to that router will be automatically routed through the VPN connection. This can be an efficient and convenient way to protect all devices on a network with a single VPN connection.
There are two main ways to set up a router VPN:
- Use a VPN-enabled router: Some routers are specifically designed to support VPN connections and include built-in VPN client software. This type of router can be purchased from many hardware vendors, and typically requires minimal configuration.
- Use a VPN-compatible router: Many routers do not include built-in VPN client software, but can still be configured to support VPN connections. This typically involves installing third-party firmware on the router, such as DD-WRT or Tomato, which includes VPN client software. This option requires more technical knowledge and may not be compatible with all router models.
Using a router VPN can provide several benefits for businesses, including:
- Simplified network management: By routing all network traffic through a single VPN connection, network management can be simplified, since there is no need to configure VPN connections on individual devices.
- Enhanced security: A router VPN can provide enhanced security by encrypting all network traffic, protecting sensitive data from cyber threats.
- Cost savings: By using a single VPN connection for all devices on a network, businesses can avoid the cost of purchasing multiple VPN subscriptions for individual devices.
When choosing a router VPN, it’s important to consider factors such as router compatibility, VPN protocol support, and ease of use. It’s also important to ensure that the VPN service is compatible with your existing IT infrastructure and software.
In conclusion, a VPN is an important tool for businesses to maintain their security, privacy, and access to restricted content. By encrypting and securing their internet connections, businesses can protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, a VPN can provide remote workers with a secure and reliable connection to a business’s network and resources, which is increasingly important in today’s mobile workforce. Overall, businesses should consider using a VPN as part of their cybersecurity strategy to ensure their operations are secure and protected.