Businesses today rely on interconnectivity between other businesses, amongst their employees, and with clients and consumers, locally and globally. Most businesses run on internal networks that enforce required levels of security, depending on the nature of the business.
Connecting into these networks traditionally was done through private phone lines over secure connections. However, with access from global locations on a steady climb and almost the default, most businesses rely on the Internet or some other form of pubic telecommunication infrastructure to allow access to internal networks.
This requires the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to allow for connectivity with security. A VPN allows for a business to increase it interconnectivity to the outside world using strictly defined security measures. There are a variety of ISPs, such as BT IP Connect, which work with VPNs.
What is a VPN?
A VPN uses a shared public infrastructure to move information while maintaining privacy between source and destination. Privacy is maintained through security procedures and tunneling protocols outlined by the business. An example of such a protocol is the Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP). Protocols encrypt data from the source and decrypts it at the destination, effectively sending data through a “tunnel” that is hidden from unintended eyes.
Advantages to Using VPN
Businesses benefit by using a VPN in numerous ways, ranging from financially to strategically:
- Added Security – A VPN protects data that flows from point A to point B using encryption and decryption. Added security options allow businesses to encrypt IP addresses of the source and destination to further safeguard data.
- Improved Performance – Using VPN network infrastructure setup in a way that is most advantageous to a business can improve Internet download speeds and quality of service.
- Reduced Costs – Through VPN, businesses can setup multiple remote locations as virtual local networks, eliminating dedicated Internet connection rental costs. LAN connectivity maintenance costs through VPN is very low compared to traditional dedicated line solutions.
- Remote Work – Enabling connectivity for employees located anywhere across the globe helps enterprises run efficiently. VPNs increase productivity, becoming the most popular method for remote work requirements in corporate networking.
- Sharing Information – VPN seamlessly connects offices across multiple locations or countries to share the same documents or files around the world in a secure and efficient way.
Disadvantages with VPN
· Complexities – Designing and maintaining the security that is required when using VPN is extremely complicated, requiring experts who carry a high level of understanding of this technology. Miss any details, and your data could go missing.
- · Reliability – Depending on the provider, Internet accessibility can have its ups and downs. Your systems are now at the mercy of the Internet, so choose an ISP that is reliable and has a proven track record.
- · Scalability – Sometimes the feature that is a positive can also introduce negatives. Choosing the right vendor means knowing they will be able to scale your infrastructure as it grows. In worst case scenarios, solutions cannot be met by the current provider, forcing a change that can get costly.
- · Mobility – Access through mobile devices is slowly becoming the rule. This adds to the security issues. Ensure your provider and your VPN designers plan for this need.
Despite its disadvantages, which can be averted with good decisions and design, VPN is an essential component to businesses looking to increase connectivity securely and successfully.