Tactical Advice

Debunking the VPN Myths and Misunderstandings

The remote-access tools that businesses rely on are just as valuable as ever.
Debunking the VPN Myths and Misunderstandings
Credit: iStockphoto/ThinkStockPhotos

One of the key components of any sound telework policy is secure remote access to corporate applications and data. Remote access gives workers the ability to maintain productivity anywhere, anytime, without compromising the integrity and the safety of company information.

Virtual private network (VPN) technology has been around since the mid-1990s, when Microsoft began developing the peer-to-peer tunneling protocol. Since then, remote-access technology has become a mainstay in the enterprise.

Over the years, many myths about VPN technology for remote access have surfaced. Here are several worth dispelling.

Myth #1: VPNs Slow Down the Computer

Modern remote-access solutions do not require downloading software onto a device, so its performance is not affected. In essence, a device does not need to be “known” on the company network: The VPN parameters used to check devices are configurable by the IT team.

Myth #2: Remote-Access Privileges Are Forever

When a freelancer or an employee leaves the company, the IT team can quickly remove that person from the network, so remote access (or any kind of access for that matter) is revoked. To protect against possible post-termination litigation, the revocation of remote access should be well documented.

Myth #3: VPNs Only Allow Access to the Organization’s Data

Modern VPN technology includes remote VoIP capabilities, enabling employees to use their work phone numbers outside of the office. This makes contact seamless for customers, vendors and fellow employees.

Myth #4: VPNs Are a One-Trick Pony

VPN technology is considered a critical tool for safely, quickly and securely connecting resources throughout an organization’s data centers. The technology allows employees at one location to access information from any server, at any location, at any time. It also helps IT teams with load balancing, ensuring offload-processing activities for servers nearing capacity.

Myth #5: VPN Technology Is Becoming Obsolete

This rumor began with the introduction of the Direct Access feature in Windows 7, which, when combined with Windows Server 2008 creates the same functionality as VPN technology. However, this approach doesn’t completely match the comprehensive security, safety and flexibility of modern VPN technology.

Myth #6: Cloud Computing Makes VPNs a Nonfactor

There is no doubt that cloud computing has given employees a new level of freedom when it comes to storing and retrieving important content. But there are numerous stories of cloud sites falling victim to cyberattacks as a result of lax security protocols.

Smart IT teams will never allow critical data to be stored in a cloud environment that doesn’t provide robust security measures, which should always include VPNs.

The fact that the worldwide VPN-technology market continues to grow at double-digit rates indicates that this form of remote-access technology remains viable. The protocol’s high-security features and its flexibility in meeting the needs of different network environments will help VPNs thrive for a long time.

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About the Author

Klaus Brandstaetter

Klaus Brandstaetter is CEO of HOB, a software company that develops and markets remote-access solutions worldwide.

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