What Is a Virtual Private Network, and Why Should I Use One?

digital-dreams-1160562-mIn today’s era of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and employees working from the road, your company can be at risk of data breaches if employees use unsecured networks to connect to your business’s corporate systems. Although the threat can be a major one, the solution is fairly simple. By providing your remote employees with a virtual private network (VPN), you can ensure that their computers are secure without breaking the bank on security tools. VPN systems are a popular and affordable way to improve digital security.

What Is a Virtual Private Network?

In short, VPNs are secure tunnels for employees to connect to their company’s network from outside the office. Without a VPN, when an employee tries to log into the company intranet or launch an FTP session, his username and password are typically sent in the open for anyone to see. Since the request likely travels over dozens of servers, this means that your employee information is being stored on dozens of servers over which you have no control.

A virtual private network solves this problem by providing a secure tunnel which your employees can use to connect to internal networks. Simply have your employees download the VPN client and enable it on their devices. From there, all Internet traffic to and from the computer will be encrypted — meaning anyone trying to intercept sensitive data will only see gibberish.

How to Pick A VPN Provider

If you are very concerned about security, you should probably roll out your own VPN service, because it guarantees you will have full control over the privacy and integrity of your data. While there are many tools you can use for this purpose, the industry leader for the past few years has been Hamachi because of its usability and reliability.

If you would prefer a managed solution, on the other hand, AnchorFree is one of the most popular solutions for companies looking for a “set it and forget it” solution. At $29.95/year or $19.99 for six months, the solution is fairly affordable and can be set up and enabled with a few mouse clicks.

The Importance of Speed Testing

When trying out different VPN systems, you will want to use an Internet speed test on all your devices, because some VPN systems have better speeds than others. This is why it is crucial to try out multiple providers from different locations so that when you settle on a final provider, you can be sure it will meet your needs.