Many companies today no longer conduct business solely in their immediate geographical region. Some are expanding into different global markets, either by having an employee work from their home in another city or opening a branch office. Also, they are using their devices at coffee shops, hotels, or airports.

Yet, when workers use the public Wi-Fi signal, their devices are vulnerable to attacks, such as fake wireless access points and cookie theft. As covered in our blog, “Hacker Tricks: How You Can Protect Yourself,” hackers steal confidential data, scrape login information, take credit card numbers, install malware, and even take over your device. A Virtual Private Network can prevent many of these problems.

How do VPNs work?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a virtual type of secure wired network. This VPN will connect remote employees to a central company server so they can access and share internal documents quickly and securely. VPNs create a secure connection by encrypting network activity and enforcing password/location-based policies. This security combination makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to intercept the company’s data. To connect to the VPN, users will either log in to software on the computer or automatically connect to a dedicated device in the office.

What are the benefits of a VPN?

  • Protects online privacy: Checking your emails at the mall can put your company at risk, especially if you are using a network the public can access. A VPN will block outsiders from peeking at your emails and confidential data by encrypting the information on the device. Note: You must be careful of where you physically point your monitor so a passerby will not be able to view your confidential information.
  • Supports remote and branch offices: Work from home? Opening another satellite office? No problem. A VPN will allow your network to grow with your clients by giving remote access to files, applications, printers, and other resources on the office network.
  • Bypasses regional restrictions on certain websites: If you are vacationing in China, and you want to post an update to your company’s Facebook account. If you try to complete this simple task on a Chinese network, you are out of luck—the country blocks the social networking site. However, if you use a VPN, the network will treat you as if you are using your device in your home country (the United States in our case), and you will be able to access the site.
  • Supports industry data security compliance standards: Many industry compliance regulations, such as HIPAA and SOX, require organizations to send and receive confidential information through encrypted channels. VPNs will ensure remote workers will continue to do exactly that.
  • Cost-efficient alternative to buying owned or leased lines: Owned and leased lines will connect one office to another securely, but they can be cost-prohibitive. With a VPN, your company can inexpensively add new users and lessen the need for buying expensive equipment by using the local provider’s internet access.

What are the options for using a VPN?

  • Hosted VPNs: If your company simply wants to share files and network resources with individual users without having to configure a router or use a PC as a VPN server, Hosted VPNs will be a great solution for your company. This option is excellent for employees working at home or on the go. There are free options available, such as Hotspot Shield, but the program will track your activities and deliver advertising. Subscription-based services, such as Strong VPN and CenturyLink, will provide greater security and privacy. Your IT department would need to pre-install the client software on the company devices. Then, every time a user needs to use the VPN, they will log into the software with a username and a password before entering the protected network.
  • Use a VPN router: If you want more control over company devices and employee computer activities, consider using your own VPN devices. This solution is excellent for companies rolling out entire branch offices. Unlike Hosted VPNs, your IT department will not have to pre-install client software on each user’s computer. SonicWall Secure Remote Access appliances will allow users to use their PC and mobile device to access files, emails, applications, remote desktops, and more on the company’s Local Area Network (LAN). Along with encryption, platforms like SonicWall will provide tough firewalls to protect against malware attacks and cookie theft. All users would need to do is log into a Virtual Office portal.

If you’re interested in a review of the security of your business technology and setting up a VPN, contact SwiftTech Solutions by calling 877-794-3811 or emailing for a free consultation.

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