Using VPNs While Traveling

By January 16, 2019Technology
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A VPN service can provide great freedom to you and your employees, allowing people to work remotely with access to any files they need. With a direct “tunnel” to the home office, you can transfer data securely. In addition, someone who might want to track an employee will be unable to determine their location or IP address, since a VPN service connects through a remote server.

Make sure you educate your employees about best practices for using a VPN, especially when they travel.

Why Use VPNs for Your Traveling Employees?

VPNs provide an extra level of security. They can also provide direct access to company files, excluding other parties from the exchange of information. Computer World names two good reasons to use a VPN. First, a VPN service makes employees feel secure. That means they will log on more readily to get work done, even if they are connecting via coffee shop wifi. The second advantage is client security. Additionally, you can use a secure VPN connection as a selling point for your services.

Changing Uses of VPN

The use of VPNs has expanded greatly beyond remote work. So note that your employees might use the more secure connection for personal use while on the road. (Your company’s policies about such use are, of course, up to you.) Some people now use them whenever they connect to public wifi. When you connect to the internet via a public source, your data becomes accessible to those with more advanced knowledge of how such connections work. VPNs provide security for those connections.

Another widely used purpose for a VPN connection is to access content that is otherwise restricted from your location. For example, say you have a U.S. streaming video account but you are traveling in Europe. The video service may block your access if they detect your European location. A VPN connection routed through a U.S. location will show that you are in the United States.

Travelers to China often set up a VPN before their trip. China’s infamous firewall prevents broad internet access and a VPN can usually bypass it. Plenty of other countries modify internet access. If you travel to any of those countries, you might need to rely on a VPN. The tunnel created bypasses the restrictions by masking your actual location.

Which VPN Fits Your Company?

Yes, different types of Virtual Private Networks exist. It’s good to know what they are in order to make an informed decision.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is not built into your computer but it is open source, which makes it readily available. It does not have the highest speed of all the VPNs but has a level of security that satisfies users. By using OpenVPN you avoid corporation-made versions but you will likely want someone to help you set it up.

L2TP or Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol

Microsoft and Cisco created Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol. It has good level of security and a fair rate of speed. It is not always easy to set up but sometimes comes with the computer. This one might also need some additions to function properly, but with the right technical help, it will work just fine.

SSTP or Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol

Created by Microsoft, this version might come with your computer. It has an acceptable speed and good security. It will set up rather easily on your Windows computer. Mac does not appear ready to accept its use any time soon, so Apple users will have to search elsewhere.

PPTP or Point-To-Point-Tunneling

This version is so old it existed alongside of dial up connections. However, it still sees wide use because of functionality. Also created by Microsoft, this connection is one of the fastest. Unfortunately, it lacks the security offered by other VPNs. It’s easy to set up, though!

Choosing a VPN

If your company engages in travel, a VPN might work well for you. The added security can enhance your sense of safety while in remote locations. Whether you are attending trade shows or have employees on the road for sales or delivery, a VPN might come in handy. Taking a look at the nature of your internet usage will reveal whether VPN services are a necessary addition to your business operations.

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