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What is a Virtual Private Network and Why You Need One

By: Total Computer Solutions

Shiny red wifi icon on black background

The age of BYOD (bring your own device), employee mobility, and remote telecommuting offer many advantages to businesses but also bring with them an inherently higher risk for data breaches. Employees require access to business data and applications far afield from the home office IT systems sitting securely behind their traditional firewalls.

The ability to conduct business 24/7 anywhere in the world depends on the ability to optimize the global connectivity of the internet via public connections while keeping data secure. The VPN, (Virtual Private Network) is that security solution. Without VPN, a business is "letting it all hang out" and a mistake by a single employee could place the entire enterprise at risk.

Read Everything You Need to Know About Network Security for Your Small Business

Public Wi-Fi Vulnerability

VPN provides the "secure tunnel" for preventing intrusion and data losses which are always at risk when the public internet is used for connections between remote company offices or for example, a busy field representative processing business orders during a quick coffee break using the public WiFi hotspot at the local Starbucks.

Employees can use airport waiting times productively with Wi-Fi connections, but that increase in productivity must be matched by the increased security a VPN can provide. The malware attacks by Ransomware called Wannacry spread to 250,000 machines in 150 countries due to lagging security updates and unsecured connections.

Safeguarding online activity when taking advantage of these widely available but highly vulnerable public connections is more crucial than ever with the expanding proliferation of open source automated phishing tools for WiFi spoofing, phishing attacks, and brute-force password cracking programs. These malicious tools can get an attacker "behind the firewall" when they obtain secret passphrases to gain access to wireless networks protected by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 protocols. 

Inside the VPN Tunnel

VPNs use dedicated connections to create the virtual P2P connections which protect online computers and devices in a fashion similar to traditional firewalls. On the user end, VPNs work with the same security and functionality as the private network security available at the home office. Connections are encrypted so that any data captured from the transmission is unusable to a malicious actor, but there are other advantages to connecting via the VPN tunnel as well.

VPN Benefits For Businesses

  • VPNs which hide your IP address optimizes Privacy Protection. Secure, private browsing is possible without revealing your actual location or sensitive data to malicious websites. The VPN will show an IP for a business in Raleigh, NC, for example, even when a company representative is connecting from another state or country to access email or other business applications.
  • Access Geographically Blocked Sites- VPN allows access to otherwise geographically censored sites which block based on actual location. 
  • Direct Connection to the Private Business Network- Once the VPN connection is established the user has access to all the functions of the enterprise's private business network, able to securely transmit and receive data for printer mapping, security, and all applications on the home office system
  • Increased Productivity- When employee confidence in reliable security is enhanced with a VPN productivity is sure to increase, as public connections can be used anytime, anywhere. A briefing on VPN policies during the onboarding process takes the security burden off of employees and allows them to focus attention to the business at hand without the need to worry about being the cause of a data breach when they're working remotely.
  • Customer and Partner Confidence- Customers and business partners place their trust in enterprises and expect them to manage their sensitive information in a professional manner securely. A VPN shows that the organization places a high priority on security, and is going the extra mile to be worthy of that trust.

Secure VPN at Total Computer Solutions

No business handling sensitive digital information is too small to take the necessary steps required to keep hackers and cybercriminals out. The VPN provides one of the most cost-effective ways to upgrade business security and enhance mobile and remote employee productivity using both private and public connections. Data cannot be intercepted, and the VPN ensures that only authorized users have access. 

At Total Computer Solutions, we can evaluate all of your VPN and security needs and provide the customized solution which businesses and consumers can use to enjoy the benefits and peace of mind that come with secure private connections from anywhere on the global public internet.

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