Why VPN Security Is A Must While Working From Home
Most of us are spending more time at home now than ever before and are either working from home or trying to find ways to keep ourselves occupied while sheltering in place. Either way, we’re connected to the internet, making cybersecurity tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), more popular than ever.
Why is this so? When working from the office, we rely on a plethora of online securities put in place by IT specialists ensuring that all incoming and outgoing data remains secure. Failing to use VPN security might leave you with compromised business data that has been intercepted by cybercriminals.
Over the past month, the demand for VPNs has increased worldwide, with a 41% surge in the US and a massive 130% rise in Poland. This seems to be a response to both increasing awareness and increasing cybercrime.
With cybercriminals making the most of the new opportunities posed by the current global situation, VPN security has never been so vital.
Why is VPN Security So Important for Remote Work?
Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are looking for ways for their employees to access the company’s network from home.
Secure VPNs afford companies the safest way to access their networks and private resources.
A VPN for remote work provides employees with secure access to their organization’s internal network as well as data from anywhere in the world. Secure VPNs act as a tool providing you with a secure tunnel from your device and the data center by encrypting transmitted data.
End-to-end encryption is critical for remote work because even if an attacker is able to access the network and in turn steal any information, whatever they got their hands on would be worthless.
Without end-to-end encryption, any data is simply decrypted by a mid-point server so that your IP and web traffic are visible to third parties. Basically, using end-to-end encryption means that nobody outside your network is able to access your company data.
“You know all of the data you’re going to enter from your laptop, through your home WiFi or WiFi at a coffee shop, or wherever you happen to be working,” CynergisTek’s CEO and President Caleb Barlow said. “All of that is going to be encrypted traffic so that a man in the middle can’t intercept it.”
Zoom, a video conferencing platform has experienced a boom during the pandemic. It has quickly become the primary tool used by remote workers for communication. There have been instances where hackers have invaded video conferences without being noticed due to vulnerabilities in the program.
A home VPN will help protect your online meetings ensuring that no sensitive information gets into the wrong hands during this time and in the future.
The Risks of Remote Access
If you are an employee currently working from home, VPN security is essential so that you can access company data at the source instead of using duplicate employee devices, which are much less secure.
Remote access is typically handled through protocols like Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which allows users to access the company’s remote desktop from the internal network.
The issue with protocols like RDP is that the company network is often opened to the entire internet. While RDPs do have some basic security features like a username and password for protection, those passwords are easily compromised by skilled hackers through social engineering.
Ultimately, it means that remote connections to your office pose a significant security risk for a potential breach.
Without a VPN for remote work, and the security that office systems afford us like blacklisted IP addresses and firewalls, you’re much more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
In fact, phishing emails are up 600% since the end of February according to a recent study.
The Cyber Threat Intelligence League, established in March to try and combat the increasing COVID-19-related cyber threats, has already “taken down more than 2,800 cybercriminal assets online, including counterfeit sites designed to look like the World Health Organization, the United Nations and U.S. government organizations”.
The increase in phishing attacks since the outbreak of the virus at the beginning of the year has been unprecedented according to Mimecast Threat Intelligence researcher, among others. Google is blocking around “100 million phishing emails daily” while the Mimecast crew blocked “nearly 24 million suspected coronavirus phishing emails” in a single week in March.
This is why so many of the biggest names in the VPN industry have seen the demand for their service skyrocket according to CNET.
“Figures released by NordVPN revealed that global use of its business-focused VPN had increased by 165% since March 11, with the US and the UK usage jumping by 66% and 48% respectively. While the numbers mainly reflect the use of NordVPN’s corporate-level product, the results still reflect a surge in total remote work hours put in by individual users.
In a March release, ExpressVPN similarly reported general consumer use growing globally by 36% from February to March, hitting 45% in the US alone. ExpressVPN saw its greatest traffic increase, at 56%, in Belgium. UK traffic rose by 32%, while Australia’s jumped 36% and Mexico’s shot up 22%.”
The Benefits of a Home VPN
It is recommended for all business professionals working from home to use a VPN as it removes the need for leaving a network open to any outside traffic. Without one, a business needs to have open parts of their network in order to expose internal resources in order for employees to log in.
VPNs afford secure channels for employees to log into the network using protocols such as RDP without having to open them to the public.
This, in turn, means that cybercriminals are unable to see the company’s remote server online. Essentially it will be virtually impossible to intercept any communications between the network and company employees.
Additionally, there is the added bonus of making it safe for employers that need to use public wifi securely. With hackers quite easily being able to create fake wifi hotspots in order to gain access data this is especially important. A VPN will mean that any traffic between the company server and the employer is encrypted so that cybercriminals will not be able to access it.
Best Home VPN Solutions
ExpressVPN is one of the best options for people working remotely. Offering more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations, ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands. This means that your data is secure and will not be sold to the highest bidder. ExpressVPN has military-grade encryption on offer as well as security protocols such as OpenVPN, DNS leak blocking, five-party DNS, IPV6 leak blocking, webRTC leak blocking, as well as a Network Lock keeping your connection secure. The biggest highlight from this VPN service provider is speed, with a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% allowing you to get on with work as per usual.
ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!
Want to know more about ExpressVPN? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.
NordVPN is another excellent choice offering users as many as 5,600 servers around the globe in 59 countries. In terms of security, NordVPN has DNS leak protection, LAN invisibility settings, Onion over VPN servers, easy switching between UDP protocols and OpenVPN, special obfuscated servers as well double VPN servers which reroute your data through two VPN servers simultaneously ensuring double data encryption. NordVPN has a dedicated page on its website for anyone working from home showing you just how you can keep your business data safe from third parties. There is also a thirty-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind about using NordVPN.
Want to know more about NordVPN? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.
A home VPN is a versatile and effective cybersecurity tool that can reduce the risk of various cyber threats, from Man-in-the-Middle attacks to phishing and malware infections.
Human error has always been, and always will be, a major factor in cybersecurity. With the increase of various online threats hitting those working from home, a secure VPN will allow users to protect their business data on a daily basis.
From DDoS attacks to a sharp increase of 600% in phishing emails recently, hackers are constantly creating new ways of attacking those working remotely in the hopes of gaining a bigger reputation in their field as well as making money from your business’ vulnerabilities.
Don’t roll the dice on your professional business dealings when you can avoid all of this by equipping yourself with the best tool to protect your online security.