At the start of the year when we all moved to working from home, the majority of small businesses were most concerned about whether their staff could be as productive at home as they were in the office. Very rarely did they ask the question: are employees working as securely at home as they are in the office?
It’s only been in the last few months where businesses are starting to assess their remote setup. The mad dash is well and truly over, and the reality that this trend is unlikely to go away has started to settle in.
One thing we’ve noticed an increase in enquiries around are VPNs. No, they’re not just for letting you access the Netflix libraries of other countries. They’re actually a very useful security tool for your remote employees. Let’s take a look at how a VPN can protect your privacy.
What does a VPN do?
The internet was created for easy information exchange, and it has done a tremendous job of that – if only the majority of Facebook users could decipher fact from opinion. But if the internet was a coin, ease of use is on one side – and security the other.
While HTTPS goes a long way to protecting your information, it doesn’t guard against ISP snooping or local network attacks. This is a major problem when using unsecured networks such as at a hotel or cafe. And it can also be a concern for employers whose employees are all currently working from home. Suddenly everyone is transferring sensitive company information through routers that are bundled in with the monthly retail broadband fee – meanwhile, the expensive, secure, enterprise-grade router and Wi-Fi connection is still in the office, unused.
That’s where a VPN comes in. When using one, your traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to a server operated by the VPN company. That means your ISP or anyone connected to your router (yes, even your budget home router) won’t be able to see your web traffic.
From the VPN server, your traffic exits onto the public internet. But because it appears to come from the VPN’s server, your actual IP address is effectively hidden – making it harder for hackers to break in and steal your information.
(Side note, because IP addresses are distributed geographically, this is also how people use it to get around the region blocks on Netflix and other services.)
Choosing the right VPN for your business
Before you sign up for a VPN, it’s important to make sure you read its terms of service, as this document will outline what information they collect and what they do with that information. Most say that they don’t log traffic or monitor user activity – which is great, as the information they’d be accessing is what you’re trying to protect from others.
It’s also useful to know where the VPN company is based, as they’re beholden to data retention laws within their countries, such as GDPR and others.
The most important thing choosing a VPN is trust. If the locating, pricing, or terms of service make sense to you, then that’s a great start!
At the IT Department, we can help determine the best VPN for your business. To learn more about how you and your employees can utilise the service, get in touch today.
Still looking for more protection when you or your staff are online?
Don’t risk getting a costly virus onto your network – talk with the IT Department today and see how their Managed Services package can assist you in reducing IT overheads today