The Importance of VPN for Teleworkers

With the right VPN solution, WFH may become a new preferred company standard.

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Before we ask why VPN is important for teleworkers, we should take a brief look at how we got where we are now.

Looking back, WFH (work from home) wasn’t always a favorable concept for IT departments. Slow connections, limited networking options and a lack of effective managed remote solutions kept employers from considering deploying a WFH policy.

Now, internet providers have resources that produce faster network speeds with better bandwidth, while also providing widespread coverage using cable, fiber, wireless and edge technologies. Meanwhile, company IT security teams have access to effective and robust solutions to support thousands of remote connections. It’s because of these advancements that we’ve seen the adoption of WFH corporate policies grow, allowing more members of today’s workforce to work out of their own homes instead of from a traditional company office.

As WFH usage grows, and not just organically as we’ve recently witnessed with COVID-19’s immediate impact on the workforce, there is a critical concern about securing the millions of remote connections currently traversing the internet’s infrastructure to reach their corporate destinations. That’s where VPN comes into play.

VPN, or virtual private networking, is a technology that uses encryption algorithms and tunneling protocols to protect data as it travels from a remote endpoint, like a company laptop on an employee’s home network, to a VPN gateway running in a corporate datacenter via an encrypted virtual tunnel. With a VPN, companies can provide their teleworkers with way to continue working without having to physically be in a company office.

Let’s take quick look at why VPN is important to today’s teleworkers:

Connect from anywhere: Today’s workforce isn’t restricted to just working out of a corporate office or the home. Many of today’s workers rely on mobile technologies to stay connected via Wi-Fi from wherever they are, be it at a coffee shop, an airport, a hospital, or some other location. These guest networks may not provide the level of security needed to keep a company’s digital assets safe from hackers or leaks. VPN helps fortify and secure these connections, giving teleworkers more location options from which to work.

Access to corporate resources: VPN provides teleworkers with a secure connection to devices and services sitting on or attached to the corporate network. Access to home directories, applications, cloud services and printers makes working remotely possible, especially if these resources are critical to one’s workflow.

Weak security at home: It’s not guaranteed that all home networks are secured; weak passwords, open networks, and outdated or unpatched systems can be an open door for malicious actions, especially for tech-challenged employees who have other work-related responsibilities to worry about. By using VPN, companies are able to provide a dependable security solution to protect their digital and physical assets from direct attacks, even if the attack is coming from someone else’s mismanaged network.

Privacy from prying eyes: A VPN tunnel protects sensitive corporate data from being snooped upon, but not just from black hat hackers or hacktivists. The encrypted data’s privacy is also protected from other systems as it crosses hundreds and thousands of nodes that sit between its source and destination points, including ISPs.

Centralized management and resources: With an effective and transparent VPN solution, teleworkers can leverage their IT department’s technical resources. Not only will the IT security team be able to manage workers’ remote connections, but it will also be able to add additional services to make the WFH experience better. These backend services include failover architectures to maximize VPN uptimes, monitoring VPN health, multifactor authentication to strengthen user logins and kill switches that protect company assets from unintentional connections.

Easier commuting and a better environment: Probably the biggest non-technical benefit to working remotely via VPN is just getting the opportunity to work from home. WFH eliminates the morning and afternoon commutes many people make to get to work—as well as the stress that comes with those commutes. Remote workers can spend the time they gain from not having to commute on the things that matter most to them, and fewer gas-powered vehicles on the road means a cleaner environment.

It will be interesting to see how far we can go with WFH, especially given how critical modern remote technologies have been for companies during the pandemic. If anything, perhaps we’ll see working from home as a new preferred company standard, as long as IT can provide the right VPN solution.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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