What are Business VPNs?
Virtual private networks (VPNs) allow users to safely connect to another network on over the internet by encrypting the connection from their device, making the internet connection more secure and private. Organizations use VPNs to secure remote connections to the internet to protect their data from being compromised. Business VPNs are often used by organizations to securely connect their remote workers and branch locations to organizational applications, data, tools, and other resources. With a business VPN, off-site users can access the organization’s internal network without having to connect through the public internet. There are two types of business VPN1:
Remote access VPN. A remote access VPN gives remote users secure access to an organization’s network infrastructure, and it encrypts all traffic that remote users send and receive from the network infrastructure. Because the network traffic is encrypted, a remote access VPN provides secure access by creating a ‘tunnel’ between an organization’s network and remote user that is “virtually private,” even over a public internet connection. Remote access VPNs use two key components:
- Network Access Server (NAS): a dedicated server or software application on a shared server which is connected to the organization’s internal network.
- VPN client: software installed on a user’s computer or mobile device.
When the users access the organization’s network they activate their VPN client, which establishes the encrypted ‘tunnel’ to the NAS. This encrypted ‘tunnel’ allows the user to access the internal network without their traffic being exposed.
Site-to-site VPN. While remote VPN connects individual devices or users to an organization’s corporate network, a site-to-site VPN connects two or more networks, such as a corporate network and a branch office network. Many organizations choose site-to-site VPN so they can use an internet connection for private traffic rather than using private multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) circuits. Organizations with multiple, geographically dispersed locations often choose site-to-site VPN to provide ongoing access to the corporate network. Site-to-site VPN allows the corporate network to communication with its remote office and share resources on a single network.
Some features to look for when considering a business VPN:
No-logging. Some VPNs store logs of activity. If you do not wish for such logs to exist, be sure that you select a VPN with explicit no-logging policies.
No-tracking. Check the VPN’s privacy policies to ensure that do collect user data.
Central security management. Ensure that the VPN administrator has access to an intuitive control panel that allows them to implement security protocols such as two-factor authentication or logins through third-party platforms.
Customer support. Look for a VPN with 24/7 live support.
1 Prisma, 2022, “What Is a Business VPN? Understand Its Uses and Limitations”