Businesses today are opting for remote access VPN to enable seamless working for their employees. VPN Solutions provide a secure and private connection between employees and the company’s network, allowing them to work from anywhere in the world. This solution gained popularity during the COVID outbreak but now has become a permanent solution for many companies to increase productivity while saving costs.
This blog covers what remote access VPNs are, how they work, and what alternatives there may be.
- What is Remote Access VPN
- How Does a VPN Work?
- Benefits of Using a VPN
- How to Know If Secure Remote Access Is Right for Your Business?
What is Remote Access VPN
A remote access VPN is a network security technology that allows a remote user to access and authenticate applications and data stored in corporate headquarters and cloud applications through an encrypted tunnel.
VPNs’ encrypted tunnel ensures secure data transmission by making the data unintelligible to any eavesdroppers. This allows users to securely access their enterprise network as if they were physically in the office.
How Does a VPN Work?
A remote access Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure, encrypted tunnel between a client and a VPN gateway/server/collector. This tunnel safeguards all data that passes through it, ensuring that it remains confidential and secure. Various VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, IPsec, and Wireguard, can be employed to establish this connection, providing users with a reliable and secure way to access their data remotely.
The VPN gateway/collector can be either a network device such as a router or firewall, or a dedicated server that connects all participating users and systems. A dedicated server typically offers superior scalability and performance. To gain access to the VPN, remote users and their devices must be authenticated, which is especially critical when users are allowed to use their own devices (BYOD). There are a few different methods for authentication, including:
- Digital certificates – a trusted form of authentication that is installed on a user’s device and verified upon connection establishment.
- Passwords – a critical security measure that allows users to securely access their accounts. They can be either pre-agreed upon or generated on a one-time basis, ensuring that only authorized individuals can gain access.
- The Client App – is a specialized application that runs on the user’s device and verifies their credentials and device. This app can be either proprietary or integrated into the operating system.
Benefits of Using a VPN
Remote Access to Information Anytime
No matter where they are, employees can take advantage of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) at any time and from any location, as long as they have access to the internet and an authorized device.
By keeping all business communications and data off of public networks, a VPN ensures that your business remains safe and secure.
Access to Blocked Websites
If you have employees traveling internationally, replacing their IP address with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) could be a necessity in countries with restricted access to certain websites. By using a VPN, employees can securely access the internet and bypass any restrictions imposed by the country they are visiting. This ensures that they can stay connected and continue to work without any disruption.
Affordable for Business
VPNs are cost-effective for businesses, offering a great return on investment with their advanced features.
Easy 24/7 access to a secure network facilitates employees to complete their tasks more quickly and collaborate by exchanging files through a private network. This streamlined access to resources enables employees to work more efficiently and productively.
Better Work-Life Balance
Employees no longer need to do long commutes or take time off for unexpected events. Remote work enabled by virtual private networks (VPNs) allows for more flexible work hours, resulting in happier employees who have a greater sense of autonomy and control over their own lives.
How to Know if Secure Remote Access Is Right for Your Business?
It’s important to identify secure remote access VPN opportunities before implementing them in your applications or networks.
Have you ever experienced a technical issue with your computer and had to contact your IT department for help? Chances are, they didn’t come to your desk in person. Instead, they likely used remote access to quickly and efficiently resolve the issue, saving time and money if they were located in a different area.
Some ideal applications of remote access for industrial users are listed below
- Remote PLC programming and diagnostics of industrial equipment – remotely program and diagnose your standard PLC and HMI tools, just as if you were on-site.
- Remote control and monitoring of industrial equipment – remote control and monitoring using your PC, iPhone, or Android device, Web virtualized devices, remote desktops, and HMI app access.
- Remote data logging of industrial equipment – let your log server securely and seamlessly fetch real-time data from any device through firewalls and IP networks.
- Remote technical support – Temporarily connect to the cloud without requiring any hardware, and provide instant technical support or access to access points. This solution can be useful for offering technical support to your own company or for assisting machine builders, system integrators, or other vendors that may support your company.
- Centralized control – Users can connect to multiple remote access points simultaneously from a central location, enabling them to conduct uniform monitoring and maintenance more efficiently and effectively
Implementing secure remote access does not require a large financial investment, and expanding the solution does not require additional personnel. Overall, businesses that are considering using secure remote access should carefully evaluate their needs and consider the various options available to determine the best VPN solution for their organization.