Up until recently, remote work seemed like a futuristic concept to many — but the COVID-19 outbreak is forcing organizations to reevaluate that view. In order to prevent the spread of illness, many companies have no option but to send employees to work from home. Companies that already had remote access capabilities in place are carrying on with business as usual...but a lot of companies are struggling to adapt. From sending employees home with entire computer towers to dealing with major bandwidth issues, a lot of organizations are just struggling to keep their heads above water and fix issues as they go.
This situation proves the old adage: failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Whether it is a natural disaster, pandemic, or something as minor as having the office painted — companies need to be prepared for anything. And while it is never ideal to be reactive rather than proactive, organizations can still make the best of this situation and fix the issues they are facing.
One of the biggest issues organizations are facing is the huge crunch of traffic. Now that the number of remote employees has gone up so drastically, remote connections are inundating VPNs and network appliances. This means bandwidth is far, far less, and productivity will suffer (or come to a halt) as a result.
As tech teams and system administrators work tirelessly to tackle problems, they may overlook the simple solution to one of the top issues overwhelming their bandwidth.
As more employees start working from home, you might notice a significant decrease in your internet speed. The likely scenario is that your VPN is not utilizing split-tunneling.
When a VPN client connects to a VPN, it creates a tunnel. Data transferred is encrypted through the Internet to the VPN server and connected to your internal LAN (local area network). By default, it's configured to route all web traffic through that tunnel. This means if you have 50 employees all connected to the company VPN, rather than the 2 or 3 workers you are used to, all of the additional traffic is routed through the same tunnel which causes that problematic decrease in speed.
Instead of suffering through or recalling employees back into the office (and into a potentially unhealthy situation), your company may want to look at setting up a VPN that allows split-tunneling.
What is split-tunneling?
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. This system of network access enables the user to access remote networks, at the same time as accessing the public network.
When you set up split tunneling, only traffic that is destined for the subnets on your Internal LAN will go through the VPN tunnel. Other traffic will go through your employee's regular internet traffic. Because split tunneling is utilizing the user's own internet traffic, it doesn't slow down the company's network as a whole.
Split tunneling can be very beneficial for companies that need to increase their remote employment capabilities, without decreasing productivity. And split tunneling doesn’t have to be complicated: with the right VPN, set up is fast and easy and you can continue business as normal, regardless of the situation.
Split-Tunneling with Access Server
OpenVPN Access Server provides a split tunneling option for any situation requiring an increased number of VPN users. For detailed instructions on setting up split-tunneling on your Access Server, see our resource: Understanding how split tunneling works with OpenVPN Access Server