Are VPNs Becoming Mandatory for Remote Workers?

Technology has changed the game when it comes to when and how we work. Many companies have employees working in satellite locations around the globe. Even if a company does not have employees working remotely, it is likely that from time to time employees will do work from home, from a coffee shop, or at a bar.

As they go about their work, they have access to sensitive information about their business, customers, or clients. Cyber criminals have changed their tactics to adjust to this increased trend in working remotely. Their goal is to take advantage of your remote workers for their monetary gain. Thankfully, there are security measures that you can take to minimize the risk of a data breach while still allowing your workers the freedom to work from wherever they were. One excellent resource in this regard is a virtual private network, also known as a VPN.

Mitigating the Risk of Remote Access

Businesses with remote workers have systems in place that make it possible for their employees to connect to their network remotely. This gives them access to company data, including software, resources, and other viable information from the source. This prevents employees needing to create duplicates of sensitive information on their devices.

Most businesses allow their employees remote access via Windows Remote Desktop protocol. The problem with this is that if you use a protocol like RDP, you have to expose your network to the entire Internet. This is because your employees are going to be accessing your network from anywhere on the planet, so your firewall has to let your employees navigate to the address that grants them access to your network, regardless of where they are.

It is true that Remote Desktop protocol or other similar protocols do offer some basic security features. They will require a user to enter a username and a password, so that not just anyone is going to be able to access your network. However, these basic security measures are viewed as inadequate when compared to industry standards.

The problem with simply requiring a username and password is that it is so easy for cyber criminals to crack a password or steal the password using a number of schemes. At this point, remote connections to your office now become a serious security risk.

What is a VPN?


When you use a VPN, it is as if your remote worker is connecting directly to your network over a secure access. This is because a VPN will create encrypted tunnels between your remote worker’s device and your private network. In essence, a VPN allows remote workers to bypass the unsafe aspects of the Internet.

The Benefits of Using a VPN for Remote Workers


Remote employees may be your company’s biggest IT security threat. One way to mitigate that threat is to completely ban your employees from using publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots. This ban can be difficult to enforce. A VPN is a more viable solution.

A VPN will allow employees to connect to your business’s network using encrypted communications and security gateways. True, using a VPN may slow down a remote worker’s Internet browsing speed. This could impact their productivity, causing some remote workers to not want to use them.

This is why it is so important that your company does research and selects the right VPN for remote workers. There are a number of VPNs that provide unparalleled security without compromising speed, check out this VPN list by security watchdog group Privacy Canada.

A VPN is useless if your employees do not use them. To get the most benefit out of your VPN, make sure that your remote employees understand why they are necessary when they are working remotely.

Remote Access VPNs

Remote access VPNs are usually temporary connections that get disconnected once a user has completed the task that they are working on. Establishing the connection from the mobile device or home computer requires authentication, biometric identification, passwords, or tokens. Sometimes the VPN software used has the username and password of the end-user embedded, making the connection easier for the remote worker.

With remote access VPNs, a worker can connect to their company’s resources without needing a dedicated physical circuit. This reduces costs for the business and enables connectivity where connectivity was not available previously.

IPsec Versus SSL VPNs

Remote access VPNs usually function using IPsec or the secure socket layer protocol to connect to a company’s network. The most common option is IPsec VPNs. This is because they provide remote workers the ability to access all of the company’s resources just as if they were physically in the office.

Greater Flexibility for Remote Workers

VPNs offer a lot of flexibility. You can adjust the VPN so that only certain employees have access to certain information. For example, sales representatives may be able to use a VPN to access their customer accounts, but they would not have access to legal documents or documents related to business planning.

The more remote workers your firm has or the more freelancers it hires, the more sense using a VPN makes for your business. VPNs serve as a logical security option when sensitive information needs to be accessed remotely. They allow businesses to tightly control their company’s data.

VPNs and Privacy Concerns

With a VPN, your ISP is not going to be able to see your browsing data. However, the VPN provider will be able to do. Unscrupulous VPNs will sell data to third parties. Remote workers should never use free VPNs. Those services are able to make money because they sell your data. To play it safe, we recommend only using a paid VPN.

That being said, some paid VPNs still log your user data. This means that if they are in a country where the laws require them to surrender your data, they will do so if they are subpoenaed. If you have any privacy concerns about using a VPN, we encourage you to read the fine print of the VPN provider you select. Make sure that they do not keep logs of user data.

We would love to hear from you. Are you a remote work? Does your employer require you to use a VPN? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

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