With so many of us working from home full time for the last 16 months, VPNs have become essential tools for companies to keep their staff working in a safe environment. What we mean by “safe” is mainly about your online presence whilst performing daily tasks for your job. If you aren’t currently using a VPN and wondering why you should – VPNs, put simply, are a great additional safety step for your company, especially if you’re logging into a lot of 3rd party applications like your CMS, CRM, or email marketing tools, for example.
So what is a VPN and what are the benefits of using one?
A VPN is a secure virtual private network that only authorised users can access when they use their login credentials to the network. Once the users are logged in they can go about their daily tasks as normal because the VPN does not interfere with the system in any way. The VPN becomes more useful when staff need to send out confidential emails, messages or files to other colleagues who are in the same network or to companies they work with. The network provides extra protection to these messages by encrypting them whilst they are on transit to their destination. What this means is that if a staff member is sending an email to someone, the email message is encrypted whilst it is being sent to the desired user so if this message is intercepted, the message cannot be opened or read due to the encryption. This is the level of security that is beneficial if you are working from home where you use a shared internet connection.
VPNs also offer users a sense of anonymity whilst surfing the internet when connected. As the requests for the website or request are sent to the VPN server first it then, in turn, connects to the correct website information and is returned the same way back to the user. This method provides anonymity to the user as the VPN network is the server requesting the information and not the user.
What are the drawbacks of VPNs?
As mentioned above, VPNs use servers around the globe to support the network they have built for users. This can lead to issues for users who will select a server that is far away from the intended website that they want to access, and it results in a slower response time. The reason for this is because the information is being sent to the server of the VPN first then in turn the server will contact the website the user is seeking. This is an example of when contacting the website directly without the VPN would be much quicker as it is a shorter distance than it would be normally.
Now that we know what VPNs can do is it worth using if you are working from home for either yourself or for an employer? The simple answer is yes, and I would even say that it is essential for a safe work environment. The VPN provides that peace of mind to the user and to the company you work for so you don’t need to worry about files being intercepted and any confidential emails being seen by those who have not been intended for.
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