Why Corporations Need to Give their Employees Personal VPNs
Last year, the Cybersecurity Strategy Report was released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee. In a nutshell, the report found that the majority of current IT strategies major corporations are using are not working, and lays out various measures that can be used to strengthen them.
One such measure that was recommended in the report was to ensure that employees and other frequent business travelers travel with the ability to protect their corporate data from cyberattacks.
Currently, it is standard practice for corporations to provide their employees with a corporate VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to secure the employee’s connection to company network servers while they are using public Wi-Fi services.
But what’s not standard practice is for corporations to provide their traveling employees with a personal VPN that they can use.
This needs to change, and the reasons why will be covered in-depth in this article.
What Is A Business VPN?
First, let’s answer this question: what is a business Virtual Private Network to begin with?
Basically, a VPN enables an individual or organization to create a secure network connection when using a public network. It accomplishes this by connecting your device to another device, referred to as a server, over the internet. This then allows you to use the internet using the connection of the server.
The advantage to this is it allows you to use the internet while giving yourself some degree of online anonymity and protecting yourself from hackers using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Today, there are countless VPN services all over the world providing online privacy to over four hundred million customers.
VPN’s specifically made for businesses are designed to protect the information that their employees send and receive online, while simultaneously protecting their internet connections from unauthorized access as well.
Basically, a business VPN is designed to give end-to-end encryption for the internet connection of a business device, therefore delivering a secure web connection to company devices regardless of where their employees are connecting to the internet from.
What Are The Main Advantages of a Business VPN?
There are many advantages to a business VPN, including but not limited to:
The big reason to use a VPN is for enhanced cybersecurity. Sure, you can use anti-virus protection software and firewalls (and by all means, you should), but those things are still not going to make your connection impenetrable to hackers.
If anything, anti-virus programs can struggle severely to keep your information secure from most viruses and malware. The simple reason is because the usual online connection is not encrypted, but a VPN will ensure that it is so.
SAFE DATA SHARING
Another beneficial use to a business VPN is that it ensures safe data sharing between individuals within an organization.
So long as your VPN encrypts the entire internet connection, and not just the connection to your network, then all files that you upload to your emails, storage, or networks will also be encrypted with the VPN. This also ensures that only the person with the encryption key will be able to access and decrypt the data.
There is a very minimal investment required to use a business VPN, including some that are entirely free and others that only cost a handful of dollars each month. That’s a vry small price to pay for a secure and encrypted end-to-end connection.
ACCESS DATA REMOTELY
Finally, a business virtual private network connection enables one to access data remotely. Say you lose your computer or mobile device, then whoever accesses that computer or device next would have access to all of the data it contains.
This is why corporations are rapidly turning to cloud storage over the last few years, but the new question is how can you create a secure connection with the cloud? One of the answers to that question would be to use a business VPN service, which again, will give you the ability to remotely connect to a secure server with end-to-end encryption.
Why Do You Need To Give Your Employees Personal VPN’s?
You simply will not want your employees to be conducting private business on your corporate VPN server because you have absolutely no idea as to which websites they will be accessing, which files they will be uploading, and so on.
Granted, this is precisely why numerous companies will restrict what their employees can access on a corporate VPN network. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect solution because if the employee still accesses or does anything illegal through the corporate network, then your corporation is inherently going to be at risk.
Furthermore, when employees switch off of the private VPN and use an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, they will now become a prime target for hackers, and any sensitive or important data about your company will now be at risk. In other words, your corporation has now become a prime target for hackers just as much as your employee has.
There are two primary ways a hacker could access your company data through your employee. The first hacker could sneakily get to your company data via your employee using a corporate computer or device over an unsecured network. If your employee uses the same passwords for their personal and business accounts, which is far more common than you may think, the hacker can then use the same password to access your corporate network.
The second (and more dramatic) strategy they may use is to dig up sensitive information on the employee, and then blackmail that employee into granting them access to your corporate data.
Surprisingly enough, very few people will actually use a VPN for personal use, instead utilizing unsecured public networks even to access their bank accounts or other personal information.
And since that most likely includes your employees (or at least the strong majority of them), it’s why you need to give them access a VPN server for their own personal use. Even though your main goal is to protect the data and information of your company, you can still tell your employees that it’s for their own benefit.
Again, it’s not good enough to allow employees to be conducting business on a corporate VPN server or to simply restrict what your employees can do on it. Rather, you need to give them VPN’s for their own personal use and instruct them in the use of it.
In conclusion, is giving your employees a personal VPN going to solve all of your cyber security problems?
Not at all, but it is nonetheless an integral part of the overall puzzle. Your corporation would simply be well served by utilizing a more in-depth defense strategy, and that means taking action to minimize third party risk when your employees are accessing the internet while not working.
Giving your employees personal VPN’s to use can be one of the very best things you can do to keep that third party risk to a minimum.