Should my business use a VPN?Posted on 11 August 2023 by Beaming Support
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a useful tool which can be used in a multitude of ways to increase your business’s cybersecurity. VPNs can be used by companies of all sizes, primarily to protect data being sent to, from, and within organisations.
No physical cables are involved (hence the ‘virtual’), meaning that they can be set up quickly, and users have a wide range of providers to choose from.
Types of VPN
This is the type of VPN that is most well-publicised. It is purely used to mask your Public IP address, and ‘tunnel’ your traffic through the VPN provider’s network – allowing you to portray one of their Public IP addresses, instead of your own. This is typically used to circumvent geographical filtering issues – for example, in countries like China where the government limits internet access, a VPN can be used so your device acts as if it were in the UK – allowing access to otherwise-blocked sites such as Gmail, Facebook and YouTube.
Dial-in access to an office VPN
A VPN can be used by employees to ‘dial-in’ to the local network of an office, or corporate environment, to access resources on that network. This can range from accessing specific file shares, to utilising remote desktop to connect to other machines on the Local Area Network, to ensuring that all traffic coming from your machine is being directly ‘pushed out’ of your office connection (which will ensure your devices are displaying your office public IP address, and that web filtering policies are being applied).
Companies may be familiar with this, having set up a dial-in VPN to allow home workers to access company data when working from home during the pandemic.
A site-to-site VPN is built between two (or more) sites, allowing for traffic between them to be securely and directly routed, instead of traffic going over the public internet. This encryption prevents unwanted ‘eavesdropping’ of company data. For example, you may have an office in London and an office in Edinburgh that need to share files, and a site-to-site VPN can mean these files can be shared without the risk of being intercepted by bad actors.
How can I get a VPN for my business?
There are many different VPN providers on the market that suit different businesses.
Speak to your IT department or IT service provider, as they will be able to best gauge the requirements of your business and either recommend you a VPN to purchase, or configure one for you, depending on the type of VPN you need.
With personal VPNs, some providers have a ‘throttle’ on the amount of bandwidth that can be sent down the VPN in order to ensure that all members can use it fairly, without saturating their infrastructure. When deciding which VPN to buy, make sure that it will be able to meet your bandwidth requirements.
A dial-in VPN can either use your local internet connection as a ‘breakout’, or all traffic can be forced down the VPN to ensure that web filtering and other policies are applied. For example, a teacher accessing their school’s network via VPN would only be able to access the same sites as they would if they were in the classroom.
Site-to-site VPNs have a restriction on bandwidth of any traffic which is going across the ‘tunnel’ between the sites. This means the speed of traffic between your two sites will be limited to the slowest connection out of the two – if you connected a site using a fibre optic leased line to a site using FTTC, the traffic will be limited to the speeds allowed by the (slower) FTTC connection.
Beaming’s experts manage VPNs for many different businesses, and will be happy to answer any further questions you have. Get in touch.
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