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Every Business VPN Protocol Explained

Introduction

VPNs provide a secure tunnel through which a user can connect to the Internet. They allow users to send and receive encrypted information without worrying about unauthorized intrusions. For businesses, every bit of protection is essential. 

However, there are various business VPN protocols that provide different levels of protection. Here’s everything you need to know when selecting the encryption protocol to protect your business with.​​

What is a Business VPN?

Business VPNs deliver a secure web connection for users to access company files, systems, and cloud services. Every piece of network data is encrypted and secured from hackers, snoops, and corporate spies. According to a 2017 report from the Global Web Index on VPN usage, 30% of VPN users access files and services for work.

What is a Business VPN Protocol?

Business VPN protocols determine how data is routed between the VPN server and computers using the system. Various protocols offer different levels of encryption and authentication. For example, some focus on speed, while others prioritize security and privacy. There are five common business VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, and PPTP.

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

PPTP is one of the oldest business VPN protocols. As a result, it’s been phased out of most systems in favor of more secure protocols. PPTP first hit the scene in 1995. Microsoft originally designed PPTP to work with dial-up connections. With over 20 years on the market, it’s little wonder that criminals and governments have cracked this form of encryption. It’s important to note that any data sent over PPTP is considered vulnerable.

However, PPTP provides fast, stable connection speeds. It’s still useful for low-risk activities such as streaming, but it’s not ideal as a business VPN protocol.

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)

Microsoft also developed SSTP. It’s fully integrated with Microsoft’s operating systems, so it can be used with a smart chip or Winlogon for added security. SSTP is quite secure with 256-bit SSL keys for encryption and 2048-bit SSL/TLS certificates for authentication. Most operating systems provide support for SSTP, making it a highly useful business VPN protocol.

Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol (L2TP/IPsec)

Cisco developed L2TP as the successor to PPTP. However, it doesn’t provide any actual privacy or encryption on its own. L2TP is generally bundled with security protocol IPsec, which uses AES-256-bit encryption. L2TP/IPsec is widely used and doesn’t have been any proven vulnerabilities, but it is easy to spot and block. If discretion is a factor for your business, it may not be the right VPN protocol for you.

Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)

IKEv2 is another business VPN protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco. It provides a secure key exchange session. However, IKEv2 needs to be paired with IPsec for authentication and encryption. You will find it featured prominently in many mobile VPN solutions.

IKEv2 is adept at restoring connections quickly during network switches and temporary connection losses. Unfortunately, the NSA has cracked IKEv2 security protocols and is actively using it to further undermine IPSec traffic. As a result, using it is a security risk for most businesses.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is an open-source business VPN protocol. Users can inspect its source code for vulnerabilities and use that code in other projects. It is one of the most secure protocols on the market. OpenVPN utilizes a nearly unbreakable AES-256-bit key encryption, a 160-bit SHA1 hash algorithm, and a 2048-bit authentication. In addition, OpenVPN is compatible with nearly every platform.

One of the major criticisms of OpenVPN is its slow speeds. While slower speeds are rarely a concern for business purposes, it’s something to consider when choosing a VPN protocol. However, recent upgrades in the protocol have boosted speeds moderately.

Wrapping Up

The most important aspect of a business VPN protocol is the security of its encryption. Exposure to hackers, data miners, and others who can cause damage to a business is something that every company wants to avoid. Browse VPN.com’s reviews of over 900 VPN providers to find the right solution for your business today.

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