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The increase in the number of people working from home has led companies to seek more secure access to their corporate servers for their remote workers. Instead of individual users accessing the company servers and information from private VPNs, many corporations are choosing instead to gain access for all employees using enterprise VPNs. An enterprise VPN can improve the internal security of company information while protecting the connection between remote workers and the company software.
We’ve compiled a guide to enterprise VPNs to help you determine the best fit for your business, giving you the information you need to find the best solution for your company. We also offer services to help businesses increase the protection of proprietary information and reduce the number of internal security breaches.
What Is An Enterprise VPN?
An enterprise VPN differs from a traditional VPN in that it’s designed to protect sensitive company information from those who aren’t allowed access to it. Also referred to as cloud VPNs, the primary purpose of an enterprise VPN is to add to the organizational security for businesses of any size. The VPN allows remote access for employees and protects the company from incursions if the access is through an unsecured source or a questionable WiFi connection. Using an enterprise VPN, remote employees have access to the parts of company software and applications they need for their jobs but are limited to those programs that pertain to their tasks.
The main difference between employee access of company software through an enterprise VPN versus the employee accessing through a private VPN is the ability of the company to restrict and control access to which programs and files each employee has access to. Enterprise VPNs allow remote and traveling workers to access the files and tools they need for their jobs, while restricting other files such as sensitive client information or employee records. Private VPN users may have had full access to everything on the company servers.
Good enterprise VPNs integrate with common business software applications, including Salesforce, Google’s G-Suite, and Microsoft Azure. This integration works well for remote workers who may not have been able to gain access to certain company software platforms from home in the past.
How Does An Enterprise VPN Work?
An enterprise VPN creates a secure connection between one device and the company server, just like a traditional VPN. Enterprise VPNs are cloud-based, which reduces the workload for business IT departments, as there isn’t a need to install the hardware on the company network infrastructure. Instead, companies have their VPN hosted through a third party, which carries the responsibility of updating and patching the connectivity as needed. The cloud-based connectivity makes it easier for remote workers to access the company software, as they can establish connectivity from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Enterprise VPNs allow companies to have a protected, private network no matter where their employees are located. By securing connections from the company’s end instead of relying on the user, businesses are better able to manage threats and control access to sensitive company information. Certain kinds of enterprise VPNs also allow the company IT department to configure access to certain programs or restrict access to others before giving each employee the VPN access key.
Enterprise VPNs work the same way as a single-owner VPN in that there’s a private connection between the user and the destination. However, with enterprise VPNs, the secure connection comes from the company, not the end-user. In addition, enterprise VPNs are scalable, meaning that there’s less of a limitation on how many users can access the company software. As a company grows or as it becomes more decentralized, the VPN protection between user and head office remains constant.
Using enterprise VPNs is easy for employees. Each worker receives the company enterprise VPN application, which they can open on their laptop, tablet, or PC. The VPN establishes a secure connection, even if the user doesn’t have access to secure WiFi, such as through a public internet connection, using their phone’s data, or in an airport. Enterprise VPNs also protect users using their home internet connection, which may not be protected. The VPN then creates a secure connection using site-to-site Internet Protocol security (IPsec) and allows each user the access they need. These connections can work with either network-to-network connections or remote-access connections. Plus, employees can send information back and forth from one another securely, without worrying about third-party snoops or transmitting malware from one user to another.
VPN connections create encrypted connections on Internet Protocol (IP) networks, from user-to-user or user-to-company. Connections are authenticated on each end, ensuring the correct, reliable connection. With enterprise VPNs, users can access cloud storage, private company networks, and different business software. The company IT manager can designate certain rules and network policies throughout the company network, both local and cloud, which is then passed, securely, through the enterprise VPN client. Plus, the IT department has complete visibility of the network and can monitor use from employees. Other aspects of enterprise VPNs include designating only certain IP addresses to have access to the network, which provides a further layer of protection of valuable company data.
Why Do Businesses Prefer Enterprise VPN Solutions?
Companies that have part of their information on the cloud or who use a cloud/server hybrid platform may have faced challenges with secure remote access. With increasing access from different endpoints, having a single, company wide, holistic security connection just makes more sense. In the past, many companies used private networks like leased lines or MPLS Circuits to connect branch offices to the corporate headquarters and those working in remote offices. Enterprise VPNs streamline this process and allow greater flexibility for remote work while protecting company proprietary information at a lesser cost. Extending leased lines to a far-flung workforce is a lot more expensive than hiring a third-party VPN service that protects the company’s servers and clouds no matter where employees are accessing them from.
Many companies utilize traveling salespeople, so enabling these individuals to have ready, secure access to Salesforce, client records, and payment information while traveling or on a sales call increases the productivity of these workers. Enterprise VPN connections are available wherever the end-user happens to be, allowing them freedom to travel or access company software at remote locations. As long as the user has the company VPN client installed, they can access the head office from any internet connection.
Beyond making it easier for IT departments to monitor network security through a third-party VPN client, enterprise VPNs are better-equipped than consumer VPNs to handle secure connections to the cloud/server hybrid company networks that are increasingly common for businesses. Traditional VPNs can be cumbersome when used for larger corporations, and some even allow users to freely roam through the company’s software, including sensitive areas such as employee files or customer data. An enterprise VPN allows the company to limit which aspects of company information a designated user can access and restricts their access from areas that don’t apply to their task.
Insider data breaches can run the gamut from curious exploration to malfeasance or even corporate espionage. Client contracts and certain sensitive employee data are the most common areas to be breached, and companies that depend on end-users for reliable, secure connections are increasingly vulnerable. A larger number of remote workers and irregular Internet access further complicates corporate security. Using enterprise VPNs creates a uniform security perimeter from the company’s side with features that allow different users access to the files and software they need for their jobs but not free access to everything on the company network.
Enterprise VPNs help increase productivity with greater bandwidth than many private VPN subscriptions allow and reduced malware susceptibility. Third-party hosting services reduce the time the company IT department spends setting up the hosted VPN and reduces the amount of time spent onboarding. With complete network visibility and oversight as well as lower latency and seamless connection, the connectivity for businesses is more agile and streamlined.
Should I Use A Free Enterprise VPN?
The caveats for free enterprise VPNs are the same as those for private use VPNs – namely, you get what you pay for. Subscription VPNs make their money from the subscriber dues, whereas free VPNs may recoup their operating costs from selling client data to third parties, such as advertisers.
Overall, the quality, speed, and security of paid VPN services tend to be better for those with a paid subscription, too. In many businesses, speed is essential. Slower VPNs can cause virtual meetings to lag unduly or have buffering issues with videos and webcam calls.
Free VPNs lack the number of servers that paid subscription services offer. Fewer servers mean fewer options for connections and fewer choices for a country of origin. Plus, companies that have workers in countries that have more strict internet censorship or limit access to certain websites can benefit from a VPN which bypasses internet censorship from the government. Some free VPN services may sell user data to third parties, including governments in certain countries. Maintaining company privacy may be challenging in these countries, as well, but providing workers an enterprise VPN key reduces the risk of government monitoring or spying.
What To Look For When Choosing An Enterprise VPN
Choosing the best enterprise VPN means looking for speed and security. While you’ll never have speeds as fast as connections without a VPN as the encryption and decryption at both ends takes a bit of time, the better VPNs will have split-second decryption, which means that the connection speed will be almost as fast as speeds without.
Scalability is another key aspect of a good enterprise VPN. As your company grows or if you have a shift from office works to remote access workers, having the VPN coverage grow as your company does without the need for a replacement server enables you to maintain corporate security.
Another consideration of an enterprise VPN is global access. For larger companies, having websites that are fully functional in each country they serve increases the user-friendliness of the site, For example, a company can port their site to the destination country from their workstation to make sure that the site responds the way it should. Having an enterprise VPN with servers in dozens of countries makes this simple and allows you as a business owner to see what your competition is doing in these countries.
Key Requirements Of An Enterprise VPN
When comparing solid enterprise VPNs, there are several aspects necessary for the best company experience.
- Security on all devices. As more companies allow employees to BYOD (bring your own device), protecting the company servers from malware an employee may unwittingly transfer is critical. In addition, enterprise VPNs allow many different kinds of devices to securely connect as long as the device’s operating system can support the VPN client.
- Safe remote access. Public WiFi is notoriously insecure, and even the connections from a remote office or the employee’s own home may not be the safest. Enterprise VPNs create the security perimeter and only allow outside access once the device is safely connected.
- Cloud agnostic integration. Seamless integration of the VPN client with any kind of cloud-based network. This gives a business unified protection of all its resources.
- Increased quality assurance. Connecting to a global server array allows QA departments greater ease to determine the best way to target different markets and analyze the success of current efforts.
- Greater user segmentation. Enterprise VPNs have granular policy-based permissions that give greater control over the access that different users have when entering the network. This also protects sensitive data and restricts certain users from accessing company information that they don’t have the clearance to view or permission to access.
- IP whitelisting wherein the IT department can designate only certain IP addresses to access the company network. IT departments can create static IP addresses that different branches of the company connect from or have a shortlist of IP addresses allowed access to the network. For example, only allowing remote workers to connect from certain IP addresses.
VPN.com Has The Solution For Your Business
Finding the best provider for an enterprise VPN isn’t rocket science, but the help of a reliable VPN and domain name broker can help you protect your company’s proprietary information from third parties and employees. An enterprise VPN provides secure connections for authorized users yet still restricts access for each employee to only the company data in their purview. For the best in VPN solutions, contact VPN.com.