What is a Business VPN & How Do they Work?
In a world of increased remote working opportunities and multiple digital transformation projects, data breaches are happening more and more often. What’s more, internet access is now essential to modern commerce and business, yet many companies remain completely unprepared for breaches and underestimate the amount of compromised data that can be incurred from a cyberattack. However, it can be surprisingly easy to guard against a vast number of cyberattacks on your business with one simple piece of technology: a business VPN.
A business VPN is a virtual private network designed for businesses. It allows remote employees to securely access a company’s internal networks, or intranet, safely and can be used to create a unique shared network between employees and offices in multiple locations. The main goal of a business VPN is to prevent internal data and proprietary web traffic from being exposed to the world wide web (and, by extension, hackers and cybercriminals).
From activity monitoring to advanced cybercrime protection, business VPNs can be extremely useful and, today, are considered necessary for any business that has some kind of online digital workflow, internal communications system or remote workforce that must access a central database with sensitive data.
How does it work to protect your business?
A business VPN works much like a regular VPN, but on a larger scale. A VPN, or virtual private network, is an online security service that creates an encrypted connection, or tunnel, between a user’s device(s) and the target server(s). In the case of a business, the VPN’s encrypted tunnel can securely connect a user to a company's internal network, even whilst using a public internet connection (in the case of remote working).
Without a business VPN, employees connected to a company’s network via a home public internet connection may be putting their data and the business’s sensitive information at risk. This is because accessing the internet over a public network (like a home internet connection) exposes devices and online activity to the world wide web and, therefore, malicious online actors. When there isn’t any kind of safeguard, like a business VPN, cybercriminals intent on intercepting employee or company information can occur very quickly.
However, whilst using a VPN, an internet service provider (ISP) can only see that the VPN was used and the bandwidth needed to make the connection. All other data, including browsing history, login credentials, social media access and credit card information, remains hidden. As a result, business VPNs are a simple and largely cost-effective way to keep your company’s sensitive information private and secure from cybercrime.
Different Types of Business VPNs
In general, there are two different types of business VPNs that you should know about before selecting one for your enterprise, remote access and site-to-site. Both accomplish similar goals but are different in terms of their setup.
Remote Access VPN
A remote access VPN allows employees to securely connect to the company’s private network from any geographic location. The remote access VPN follows a client/server model, which means that an application or a piece of software must be downloaded onto the employee’s device in order to access the company’s dedicated servers. Once the software has formed an encrypted data tunnel with the target server, that specific server then gives the employee access to the enterprise’s intranet or central database.
As a result, remote access VPNs also encrypt your online traffic and data as it travels between your device and the server. This is a large advantage in terms of cybersecurity because it means remote employees can access sensitive company files and data even when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. In summary, a remote access VPN is ideal when a team has employees that work remotely. However, security issues and troubleshooting problems are left down to the individual user with the software on their device.
Site-to-site VPNs are consistently used by businesses with multiple office locations that need to connect to a central corporate network or main headquarters database via the internet or a company’s intranet. Site-to-site VPNs work by creating encrypted tunnels between two or more networks, providing safe pathways to exchange private and sensitive data. The networks are linked by routing traffic through designated servers. Site-to-site VPNs do not rely on a VPN client/server model (i.e. an individual user does not need a VPN client on their device) because they create an encrypted tunnel between VPN gateways (a server or router) in both local area networks.
For example, if a company has two offices with their own local area network, or LAN, a site-to-site VPN would be used to connect them together. There are a number of benefits to using site-to-site VPNs for businesses. Predominately, site-to-site VPNs allow for a speedy connection and a consistent flow of data, which optimizes the overall network performance and, as a result, the day-to-day running of your business. As administrators are usually running the gateways, businesses with site-to-site VPNs also benefit from having more control over security and maintenance.
Benefits of a Business VPN
There are a number of benefits to having a dedicated business VPN, all of which keep your enterprise secure from cyberattacks, running smoothly day-to-day and operating more efficiently.
As discussed in our Remote Access VPN section, one of the biggest advantages of using a business VPN is the remote access opportunities provided to employees working remotely in different geographical locations. With flexible working fast becoming the norm all over the world, personal network connections are often not properly secured. As a result, they are a prime target for cybercriminals looking for access to sensitive company data. A business VPN will keep any data exchanged between your employee and your business safe. This is especially useful for dynamic organizations that allow employees to bring their own devices for use at work. Equally, this is an essential function for the smooth operation of international offices.
One of the most important parts of keeping your company’s data safe and secure is controlling who gets access to what in your organization. A major benefit of using a business is that you give access control as and when it is needed. Administrators can provide access controls through the process of authenticating and authorizing users, which is usually done by verifying the user/employee’s identity with a password. From there, the administrator can assign access permissions based on this information and the employee’s IP address.
If you have a workforce that is constantly travelling and is required to do important international research or comparisons online, then they may need access to geo-restricted content. Geo-restricted content is online content that has been restricted by a government body (usually through some kind of DNS hijacking to redirect users) and is therefore not accessible under normal circumstances in that location. There are a number of important websites and online services that are completely restricted by authoritarian regimes in many parts of the world. A business VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions and connect you to a server in your home country to access the content you need.
Safe Browsing for Consumers
For commercial properties where clients are on site whilst using your company’s services, like a café or restaurant, and you offer free Wi-Fi, a small business VPN can be used to protect their data as well. A VPN can be configured on your router, allowing customers to browse the internet safely and without fear of hacking via a public Wi-Fi connection.
Threat Detection and Prevention
High quality business VPNs often include a kind of threat detection and prevention security capability. This is because a VPN alone is just one layer of protection, focused mainly on privacy, and as a result requires further cyberthreat protection in the form of their own security solutions or partnerships with other security vendors. Since so much of the malware out in the world is often spread through phishing attacks via fraudulent emails and websites, many VPNs have an alert and blocking system to protect your device whilst you’re browsing the internet.
Encryption and Entry Points
As a primary feature of any VPN, a good business uses high-quality encryption to scramble data, so even if a hacker is successful at accessing your employee’s system connection, they will be unable to interpret the data. In fact, enterprise level VPN software blocks cybercriminals at multiple points of entry, including through the protection of routers and DNS servers.
At Kaspersky, we provide you with an award-winning virtual private network (VPN) service that will give your employees access to a virtually impenetrable encrypted internet tunnel, wherever they are in the world.Named the "clear winner" following speed performance tests conducted in 2022 by AV-TEST GmbH, our VPN service utilizes more than 2,000 servers in more than 100 territories, to deliver you a fast, reliable and secure service anywhere in the world. It secures your IP address (even when using unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots),prevents all forms of personal data leakage, protects all devices on your home Wi-Fi network (including smart home devices) and cuts off your internet connection if the VPN goes down.
Do I Need a VPN for my company?
In Europe, the USA, Brazil and across Asia Pacific regions, consumers say that the primary goal when using a VPN is “to pay or purchase online”. Therefore, a business VPN is vital for providing payment encryption to protect your business if you regularly process transactions digitally.
In addition to this, if your company operates a digital workflow (i.e., regularly exchanges digital assets or operates using applications via the internet), uses online communications software or has a remote workforce that needs to interact with a central intranet, it is essential that you have a business VPN solution in place. Considering the rise in data breaches and cybercriminal activity, a business VPN is a cost effective and simple way to protect both your employee and enterprise data, whilst providing your workforce with a secure means to access your company’s assets.
Kaspersky Premium is an award-winning multi-device solution for antivirus, privacy and identity protection in one easy-to-use package. Keep every inch of your data secure and protected with our state-of-the-art cybersecurity software, suitable for both business and home use.
Business VPN FAQs
What is a Business VPN?
A business VPN allows employees to securely access a company’s internal networks, or intranet, safely and can be used to create a unique shared network between employees and offices in multiple locations. The goal of a business VPN is to prevent sensitive company data from being exposed to the internet.
Do I need a VPN for my company?
Yes, a business VPN is essential for companies because they protect your employee and company data and provide your workforce with a secure means to access an enterprise’s intranet network. A business VPN is essential for businesses with a digital workflow, who use online communications or have a remote workforce.
Remote access vs site to site VPN
Although the results are similar, the goals of the technology and the way these systems are set up are different. Remote access VPNs use a client/server model, whilst site-to-site VPNs are involved in connecting two internet gateways and don’t require software to be installed on a device.
What is the difference between personal and business VPNs?
In general, personal VPNs are designed to accommodate one user and their devices. A business VPN supports multiple users across multiple devices, regardless of location. There are also different types of business VPNs, that accomplish different goals, such as securely connecting the LAN networks of offices.
Can a VPN be used for a business?
Yes, a VPN can be used for a business; in fact, large organizations, including governments and public service providers, use business VPNs to secure communications between offices geographically and keep remote workers’ connections to internal databases safe from interception by hackers and other cybercriminals.
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