A walled garden, in internet terms, “... is an environment that controls the user's access to network-based content and services.” A walled garden keeps users from exploring outside the walls and protects against malware, phishing, and other cyber threats. According to TechTarget, “Although a walled garden does not always prevent users from navigating outside the walls, it often makes it more difficult than staying within the environment.”
Other examples of a walled garden environment are:
- Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Social media sites.
- Collaboration platforms (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack).
- MarTech platform (e.g., Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon).
In these cases, the walled garden allows site operators to keep users on their platforms for as long as possible while protecting them from harmful content beyond the walls.
Restricted Internet Access, a new OpenVPN Cloud feature, taps into the walled garden concept to:
- Improve productivity and security.
- Help people focus on what’s most important.
- Mitigate risk to your network.
Read on to learn how Administrators can have complete control over what users and devices access on the internet.
The Need for Internet Restrictions
With the growth of remote and hybrid workforces, employees work outside the company firewall. They’re using public and home WiFi for internet connections. This, combined with unrestricted access, makes them prime targets for hackers. They’re also accessing apps, social media, and other internet content that isn’t work-related. You can block websites on a case-by-case basis, but rather than play whack-a-mole with threats and bad actors, OpenVPN Cloud lets you build an impenetrable wall around your network and:
- Secure access to allowed trusted internet destinations using continuous encryption and tunneling and block all other internet traffic.
- Create a trusted source network so your distributed workforce can access SaaS applications.
- Define and enforce internet access policies for users.
- Protect devices and your network from breaches.
Recommended Reading: Traffic to private resources on your connected networks always traverses the tunnel to OpenVPN Cloud, but there are different ways — Restricted Internet, Split Tunneling — you can control the traffic bound for the internet. Visit Internet Access Settings and Security Levels for details on built-in security solutions and interaction with Internet Access settings and security levels for internet routing.
Create a Walled Garden With Content and Services from Trusted Domain Names
One use case for Restricted Internet Access is use-specific devices. Administrators can allow the device to access trusted sites and block access to others. For example, a PC used for employee time tracking should limit access to the Microsoft OS update site and the time-keeping app. Without internet restrictions, the device can be used to access web pages that expose it — and the network it’s on — to cyber threats.
Additional Protection With Cyber Shield
Masking IP addresses isn’t sufficient protection. Cyber Shield, a built-in feature of OpenVPN Cloud, protects against threats without tunneling internet traffic. Included with OpenVPN Cloud at no extra cost, Cyber Shield is an easy-to-use, customizable IDS/IPS and Content Filtering feature that protects remote access with:
- DNS-based content filters to monitor and block by category.
- Accept and Block Lists for customized domain filtering.
- Traffic Filtering features act as an IDS and IPS.
- IPS based on threat category or threat severity.
Cyber Shield fortifies protection by letting users decide which content to block. User-friendly reporting makes it easy to adjust rules as needed based on internet use.
Secure Virtualized Networking With OpenVPN Cloud
The OpenVPN Cloud network as a service (NaaS) solution combines the strengths of a VPN, ZTNA, SD-WAN, and SASE security. This enables secure, virtualized connectivity between employees, devices (IoT/IIoT), and networks of small to midsize organizations and branch offices of large enterprises.