Does a VPN make sense for your business?
In this brief Q & A, Sagiss Network Administrator Lead Javier Caporal discusses key concerns to keep in mind when evaluating whether a VPN (Virtual Private Network) makes sense for your business.
Q: What are several common concerns when using a business VPN?
Javier Caporal: If you’re a company that allows employees to bring their own device instead of providing laptops, a VPN may not be the best fit. Whenever I take my device home and I turn on a VPN, if my computer isn’t secure or if my computer isn’t fully patched and it gets compromised, that VPN makes it look like I’m in the office. If anyone is allowed to connect to my machine and do things with it, they have access to all the files and company data; anything that is inside the company network
If your server has HIPAA or other confidential information on it, you must meet certain compliance standards. If the user who is accessing that server from home needs to have a machine that also meets the standards and the company’s policies need to be very clear so they know what can be allowed to be work from home. Otherwise it would be available data to anyone who can access the machine or access the VPN settings.
If you’re a company that doesn’t allow copying data down, a VPN may not be your best bet. With a VPN it can be hard to control what you can allow to be copied down. You’ll need additional software and features, as well as hardware and devices to stop from copying data.
Q: How does your home internet affect your business VPN?
Javier Caporal: If my internet from home is a 10-megabyte connection, even though the office is a 100-megabyte connection, if I work from home, I am limited to that 10-meg connection speed.
You want to do VPN when you have a good steady connection, because if it drops and you’re working on files, it’s not the type of connection that’s going to ask you to save; it’s just going to close. You definitely want to consider where the remote user is working and their connection speed.
Q: How does cost factor into a business VPN?
Javier Caporal: If you want high-end security, the ability to lock things down, content filtering built in within the VPN, etc. there are costs involved. Or for example, if you want to control the time it is being accessed and additional features that make a VPN more customizable and manageable, you have to spend money on a device, a router or an ISP service that you have to pay monthly in addition to the contract with your internet provider. So there is always a set of costs you need to consider if you want to invest in setting up a VPN.
If you're interested in what reasons to use a VPN for your business check out this blog.