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Why using a VPN connection is becoming increasingly important?

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By Mark Phillips ¦ Blog.TotalAV.com ¦

 

Even the smallest businesses are reaping the benefits of installing and using virtual private network (VPN) hardware/software. And that’s why using a VPN connection is becoming increasingly important. Why?

  1. VPNs can extend a business network to include home-based or mobile workers, so those employees can securely access applications, files, and other resources on the business network. It’s just like they are working in the office.
  2. VPNs can create a single network that ties together two or more offices securely over the Internet.
  3. VPNs can make it much easier for your employees to use browsers or mobile phones to access business documents and participate in chat sessions while out of the office.
  4. VPNs are becoming essential even for workers that who feel need to access to their business networks while using a public WiFi networks, which are inherently not secure.
  5. VPNs are important when employees need to get into the corporate network when in customer locations, hotels, or any other WiFi network that your IT department has no security for.

All of those benefits are possible because a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel through the public Internet, so that nobody can intercept to the traffic. A VPN also prevents man-in-the-middle attacks.

VPNs are increasingly popular because the Internet is becoming less secure due to hackers developing ways to break even the most secure https pages.
Businesses are targeted by dangerous malware, spread by hackers and even by disgruntled employees. A VPN can also help offer strong protection to the business’s networks, applications, and data as well.

The lowdown on VPNs
Indeed, modern VPN hardware and software are much easier to deploy and set up than older or outdated versions that required a lot of skill and patience to install and configure. You can set up most of the today’s VPNs with in an hour or fewer hours, and it won’t take too much effort to keep it running. Linux, Windows, and Mac computers, as well as most of the mobile devices, have the built-in ability to connect to business your networks via a VPN or Virtual Primary Network.

VPNs are mostly available in several different styles:

– As a traditional hardware appliance that can sit on a table or be installed in a server rack.
– As a feature within some other security or network devices, like a router.
– Even as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service of (SaaS) solution from a managed service provider.

VPNs used to be the exclusive province of large enterprises but it can now be found on a variety of security devices, including unified threat management (UTM) tools that combine VPNs with firewalls and Web gateways to offer a huge range of protective features. A few UTM vendors, such as Calyptix and Watchguard have added their own tools, clients, or configuration files to make establishing connections easier.

Your choice of VPN will be down to how many remote users you need to support, whether you already have a network firewall or some other security device that can incorporate or support a VPN, and whether you should feel comfortable with outsourcing your (VPN) needs to a cloud or managed service provider.

IPsec protocols
In the past, most VPNs came with support for only IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) protocols, that were very complex to administer and required specialized networking knowledge to set up. Most VPNs these days offer several different alternatives, in addition to IPsec, such as Point-to-Point Protocol and Secure Sockets Layer protocols. This makes them more appealing with web applications and a lot easier to install and support.

Which protocol you’ll end up using, depends on what kind of endpoint clients you need to support (such as smartphones and tablets, or simply laptops and desktops) and what activities you’ll be doing over your VPN, such as sharing files from a coffee shop or creating an encrypted link between multiple networks.
As you research (VPN) products to find the best fit for your expensive business, bear in mind: that models are constantly changing day by day, this year’s cutting-edge VPN will be the next year’s dinosaur. That said, if you choose with a current VPN models today, it should be a fully functional and secure for years to come, as long as you keep the software up-to-date. In many cases, that might require an annual support contract.