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A Beginners Guide to VPNs and Working Remotely

2020 has been an interesting year — but, despite the tumult, one positive thing to come out of this year so far is the widespread availability of remote work. However, with more remote work comes more gaps in many organizations' network security.

Today, you are more likely to be the victim of a cyberattack than you are to be in a car accident, or to experience a physical break-in. Criminals know cybercrime has a much higher ROI — which means it has a much higher risk for you.

According to McAfee's Economic Impact of Cyber Crime, "Cybercrime is relentless, undiminished, and unlikely to stop. It is just too easy and too rewarding, and the chances of being caught and punished are perceived as being too low."

If you don't protect your company's network, you are setting yourself up for massive failure. ortunately, there is a very simple solution: use a reputable business VPN. It not only allows your employees easy access to company resources — it also mitigates many risks posed by cybercriminals.

What is a Business VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides your business with a securely encrypted connection to your network over the public Internet. It adds an important piece of layered security, which is essential to protect your data. Using a VPN gives you the ability to remotely access important network resources and connect your company's branches and locations worldwide.

Why do I need to use a VPN?

The last couple of weeks have definitely illustrated the importance of having secure remote work capabilities. From global pandemics and natural disasters to power outages and unplowed streets, there are just too many situations that could prevent people from getting into the office. For many individuals and businesses, this loss of work can be detrimental.  Businesses around the world are realizing that work cannot and should not be contingent on any one particular place. Flexibility is crucial for success, and a VPN can provide the exact flexibility needed so that organizations around the world can continue to operate under any circumstances.

Benefits of a VPN

Remote Access: A remote access VPN means your employees can log on to your company network from anywhere that has access to the Internet. Whether they are in the coffee shop, traveling, or (hopefully) social isolating at home, a VPN allows your employees to access all the resources they need to get the job done.

Access Control: A VPN should allow you to determine who has access to your network and it’s resources. You will obviously want to limit who can log in, and from there you will want to limit what they can access. Not all employees need access to all the same resources. Your marketing team probably doesn’t need access to supply chain management tools, and your HR team doesn’t need access to the system infrastructure. Access control allows you to set those limits every step of the way.

Cybersecurity: When you need to access your private network, you can create an encrypted, private communication session using a Virtual Private Network. A VPN session allows you to safely send data across public networks thanks to the use of encrypted tunnels. The only way in is through a device with VPN client software installed and configured to connect to your VPN server(s).

Frequently asked questions

No, the first notable difference is between consumer and business VPNs.

A consumer VPN is useful for individuals needing an extra layer of security; for example, when you are at a coffee shop and need to remain secure while you are using public wifi.

A business VPN has so much more to offer, specifically for teams. It’s a scalable solution for accessing your network when employees are working from home. (Plus many other benefits; find them here.

A proxy server is similar to a VPN in that it is a type of gateway to the Internet. Businesses set up proxy servers to protect their network from the dangers of the open Internet. It can provide anonymity, protection against malicious traffic, not allowing outgoing traffic to known malicious sites, and Internet logging, which could help you track down something like a malware infection.  While a proxy can provide these safeguards, it does not protect data being transmitted. Many businesses combine VPNs and Proxy Servers, and you can read details here about layering network security.

Encryption is the conversion of information into a cryptographic encoding that can't be read without a key. Encrypted data looks meaningless and is extremely difficult for unauthorized parties to decrypt without the correct key.

Tunneling involves protecting data by repackaging it into a different form. There are different kinds of tunneling that will affect the end-user. We recommend split-tunneling for remote access.

Split-tunneling is the process of allowing a remote VPN user to access a public network, such as the Internet, at the same time that the user is allowed to access resources on the VPN.Their data is split. Requests for network resources travel over the VPN. Requests for internet sites travel over their own ISP. This helps businesses avoid overwhelming their bandwidth with increased VPN connections.

Just install Access Server on the network, and then connect your device with our Connect client.

It depends on the VPN. OpenVPN Access Server is completely virtual in the sense that it's purely a software solution. You won't need modems or routers or cables to get started; it's software-based.

You can. OpenVPN is open source, so we have an entire community of people who build their own VPNs using our OS code.

The short answer is yes — even though the data is encrypted, it still uses bandwidth.

The OpenVPN Connect App enables mobile users to have access to Enterprise-grade security, reliability, and scalability features offered by OpenVPN Access Server Software or their VPN provider.

A VPN client is the Virtual Private Network software that is installed on your device to establish a connection between it and the VPN server, and offer access to VPN services.

A VPN server is a virtual or physical server that is configured to host and deliver VPN services to users worldwide.

Using OpenVPN Access Server for Business

OpenVPN is an open-source software that implements virtual private network technologies. It secures and encrypts data transmission over the Internet. Its custom security protocol utilizes SSL/TLS for key exchange and has become the de facto standard in the open source networking space with over 60 million downloads since inception.

OpenVPN Access Server is our business VPN product — we built it with you in mind. You can afford the industry-standard VPN technology to secure your business data. And no matter the size of your business, with Access Server’s licensing model, you can implement an affordable solution.

OpenVPN Access Server provides your business with security and encryption you can easily manage with a simple and intuitive web interface. Everything can be managed from your own Admin Web UI that launches with your Access Server. Check it out for yourself; we offer two free VPN connections to test it out.

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