Why it is Essential to use a VPN for Remote Work?
The rise of remote work poses a challenge to the security of companies. Implementing a VPN for teleworking helps to avoid possible vulnerabilities and reinforce protection barriers
In the past, remote work was reserved for specific sectors. But the emergence of the pandemic has brought about a radical change. Now, working from home is the order of the day. And guaranteeing the safety of the company in these conditions is a real challenge. Unless a VPN is used to telework.
Due to the health situation, thousands of businesses were forced to implement teleworking in order to continue with their activities. This represented a colossal boost to this phenomenon that is definitely here to stay. In full return to normality, many organizations have decided to maintain it or bet on hybrid formats.
Teleworking has countless advantages, but it also hides certain risks. The Internet has never been a completely secure environment. When all employees come to the workplace in person, the company's resources are gathered in the same space. And, consequently, it operates under the same network. By implementing security measures in it, it is possible to contain threats.
On the contrary, if the workforce performs its work remotely, the networks used to multiply.
Some people will not even use their home networks but will use public Wi-Fi networks instead. Inevitably, the chances of suffering a cyber attack multiply.
Hunting for company data
Accessing an organization's systems and files is very tempting for attackers. In fact, some target a specific firm and study all its workers in detail. Once they find the weakest link in the chain, they trick it into infiltrating.
Not all employees are educated in healthy cybersecurity habits that keep these dangers at bay. And crackers take advantage of it. If, for example, an individual clicks on an email containing phishing on their business computer, it opens the doors wide for them.
Likewise, if they consult information from other devices, the risk increases to a great extent. It is very common to use a personal mobile phone to carry out certain procedures. If such a device is infected with malware or is a victim of ransomware, it is also an entry channel for attackers.
Through it, they gain access to the company's systems. This allows them to spread to other computers and hijack them.
A single careless worker can be responsible for a real catastrophe in the organization. For this reason, it is essential to protect the devices with all possible measures, as well as to make the staff aware of the importance of maintaining a cautious attitude.
Even so, employees who work remotely need to communicate and exchange files to carry out their tasks normally. Luckily, there are solutions that make it possible, reinforcing the protective walls of the firms. One of the most attractive alternatives is the use of a VPN to telework.
What is a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a virtual private network created with the aim of protecting the connection of users who browse the Internet. This tool hides the IP and encrypts the data that Internet users send and receive. This way, if there are malicious agents trying to intercept them, they will fail. In short, VPNs make it possible to browse privately, in order to prevent cyberattacks.
Its history is quite recent. These solutions do not have many years of life: they were born at the beginning of this century. But it was not until the 2010s that they became popular, in part, due to the great reception they had among companies and more specialized users.
However, the beginning of the 2020s has represented the definitive push for the democratization of this technology. It was the landing of teleworking that raised it as an essential resource for the operation of thousands of companies.
VPNs offer unbeatable security guarantees. For this reason, they have been established in the business world for some time. But it has been with the pandemic that they have really become popular. Now, its use has spread, even among home users and businesses with few resources for cybersecurity. Many of them are already committed to implementing a VPN to telework.
Its operation is very simple. The VPN creates a kind of local network through the Internet, so that the devices that use it do not have to be physically connected, but can be found in different parts of the planet. This Internet connection solves one of the problems presented by local area networks, whose range is much more limited. While LANs are very useful in the office, they are not compatible with telecommuting.
These solutions also mean an increase in privacy. Usually, the teams contact the internet provider, the one in charge of connecting them with the landing pages. But when using a virtual private network, after going to the provider, the network traffic stops at the VPN server before reaching its destination. The VPN encrypts the connection and hides the IP address of the device so that the provider will not be able to know which pages it connects to. However, this information is available to the VPN provider.
Why use a VPN to telework
Organizations work with vast amounts of sensitive information that cannot be exposed publicly. To transfer these files between the different workers, the VPN stands as one of the most effective alternatives, since it creates a private network safe from possible intruders. Thanks to it, it is possible to send and receive data safely.
This solution has multiple advantages. To get started, authentication and connection are extremely easy. Individuals only need to enter credentials, generally consisting of a username and password. If the server validates them, they will already have access to the network, to which they can connect and disconnect at any time.
Another of the star features of VPNs for teleworking consists of the monitoring carried out by the company. With its use, a more exhaustive control is carried out on the access of the employees to the different applications. In this way, if an incident occurs, it is easier to track the equipment that may be related to it. At the same time, intrusion detection is simplified.
Countless businesses are immersed in the process of establishing teleworking, but some are unaware of the most effective way to execute it. This can lead them to make critical errors, with very serious repercussions for the firm itself. If they open up their services to the entire internet or use public networks, they may be compromising your information. There is no doubt: the safest option is to bet on a VPN for teleworking.
How to combat the risks of VPNs
Like all technological solutions, VPNs are not without their dangers. To get around them, it is advisable to bet on a corporate VPN, which allows employees who work remotely to make their connections as if they were physically in the office. Additionally, business VPNs offer additional layers of data encryption to protect against attackers.
But, when a corporate VPN is not available, the most common alternative is to use third-party VPN services. In these cases, the company shares an IP with the rest of the clients of the VPN server. And this can mean a vulnerability since anyone can connect to the same VPN and IP address as those used by the organization to telework. Consequently, it is more susceptible to being attacked.
Even if the accesses by IP are filtered, access is still given to all those individuals who contract that VPN. For these reasons, using shared VPN services for business use is a security risk.
The most effective solution is to contract dedicated IP addresses for workers, instead of sharing them with strangers. Thus, the filtering will distinguish employees from external agents, since no one else will be able to use them. This enables secure access to the servers since a list of authorized IP addresses can be created, thus avoiding the presence of stowaways.
Although the investment is a bit higher, betting on dedicated IPs is very convenient when using a VPN to telework. It is, without a doubt, a true guarantee of privacy.
Other alternatives to VPNs for teleworking
Not all organizations turn to VPNs to transfer their files. The reasons are very diverse. Some alternatives emerged long before virtual private networks, and although they are practically obsolete today, there are companies that have become accustomed to them and refuse to change their work habits. Others do continue in force but require further configuration by users.
FTP or SSH are two obvious examples. However, these two options are not highly recommended, since they do not provide as many security guarantees.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): known in Spanish as the File Transfer Protocol, makes it possible to send information between different devices connected to the same network. It offers some advantages since it does not impose any size limit and there is also no kind of intermediary. It was born in the last century, in the 70s, but is currently falling into disuse. The main drawback of FTP is that the files are not encrypted, so it is quite insecure.
SSH (Secure Shell): This protocol makes remote access to a server possible through a channel that encrypts the information, making it more secure than FTP. But unlike VPNs, SSH solutions don't encrypt general traffic, so they require more configuration from users.