Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, provide you with an added layer of security for your business systems and sensitive data. Learn how to find the right VPN solution for your unique needs.
If you’re considering adding a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, service to your business infrastructure, you may be overwhelmed looking at the various choices available on the market today. VPN services provide you with the ability to protect your privacy, securely encrypt internet traffic and can also help protect your business from cyber criminals. Remote workers have been utilizing VPNs for years in order to connect to a corporate environment without compromising overall security of the organization. Demand continues to grow for this affordable technology, due in large part to increased travel demands and the practice of using contractors instead of full-time employees become more mainstream.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network provides an individual or an organization with additional levels of security, allowing files to be shared safely regardless of the physical location of any endpoints. Technically, a VPN is simply a Wide Area Network that is exceptionally secure, incorporating many of the features that you would expect to find in a traditional firewall. Few of these features are noticed by users, however, they all happen behind the scenes. What users will notice is that there are generally additional steps involved in accessing a corporate network via a VPN, such as requiring a generated key code or utilizing a dongle for added security. VPN services essentially create a secure data tunnel between the provider’s server and the user, allowing a connection that cannot easily be breached.
Why a VPN is Important.
Today’s workers are increasingly mobile and have a true business need to access information from a variety of locations that may or may not be secure. For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily want your users to access your corporate network when utilizing WiFi from a coffee shop, due to the dangers associated with this activity — catching the eye of a cyber criminal, for instance. However, with a VPN your employees can easily gain the ability to read or write to their files on your corporate server securely and with the risk associated with creating a port into your systems from a less-secure location or entry point. The ability to quickly and easily view data when they are away from the office allows employees to be more productive and efficient throughout their week.
Today’s global business world requires creative solutions, and a local VPN allows you to access data from other countries as if you were physically in that country. The location of your VPN server is important for that reason, as it allows you to overcome geo-blocking restrictions — which can come in handy if you’re doing business internationally. There are a variety of other points to consider when you’re reviewing VPN solutions, such as:
- Data Caps: How much data is included in your plan can be significantly different depending on your service provider. Limited data amounts may be paired with exceptionally high overage costs, making it important to review not only the included amount of data but what happens when you exceed your monthly or quarterly allotment.
- Number of Servers: While you may think of it in terms of purchasing a single VPN server, what you’re actually getting, is access to a bank of VPN servers — making it critical that you ask your service provider the size of their server bank. A limited number of servers could mean a general slowdown for your business or an inability to meet increased needs in the future.
- Included Devices: Most VPN providers cap the number of devices that can connect per organization, often with a limit of 3 devices per individual covered by the plan. Higher level tiered pricing may allow for up to 5 devices per user, but the price differential can be significant. Keeping in mind the device cap and the expected usage level by your employees will help ensure you can right-size your VPN plan and still leave room for future growth. Personal devices are not the only ones that need to be counted in your overall cost estimation, however. Keep in mind that each router, server, and other network storage devices will also need a unique access point.
- Data Security and Privacy: While nearly all service providers do some type of data logging and user data capture, keep this aspect in mind when making your final decision. If your employees will be accessing critical financial or healthcare-related data, logging should be minimal and quickly released by the VPN service provider to ensure that it complies with all federal regulations.
- Pricing: Subscription periods can greatly reduce the overall costs of a VPN. If you’re willing or able to sign a longer-term agreement, you are much more likely to receive favorable pricing within your contract. If you’re testing a monthly service before deciding to take the plunge, the short-term investment may be greater than you would expect. Prices can start as low as free or only $10 per month, depending on your requirements as far as the number of users, required servers and security levels.
In general, a Virtual Private Network is a simple way to maintain strict security standards throughout your business while providing your employees with the flexibility that they need to access business-critical information when, where and how they need to work. Fast, effective and affordable, this technology provides the added level of security that businesses need to stay mobile. Ready to get your business started with a VPN solution that you can trust? Contact Unity IT today at (559) 297-1007 or via email to email@example.com. Our security professionals will work closely with you to scope your business needs and ensure that any solution we recommend will work well for your organization.
Contact Unity IT today at (559) 297-1007 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our security professionals will work closely with you to scope your business needs and ensure that any solution we recommend will work well for your organization.