Securing sensitive data keeps getting more and more difficult as cyber attacks keep on rising. Because of how important it is to protect data, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become an inseparable part of many businesses, especially those that operate a lot online. This cybersecurity tool can serve many different purposes, such as encrypting data, hiding it from hackers, and controlling access to company data. This article covers the concept of a VPN and how it can help data security and access control.
How Does It Work?
A VPN is a special server that filters and encrypts all of your traffic. VPN providers usually have hundreds or thousands of servers around the world for you to choose from. Once a device is connected to a VPN, third parties that the device interacts with online can see only the VPN server’s IP address, and the device’s IP address is hidden.
VPNs can come in handy in many instances. For example, they can be used to access content that is unavailable in a given region. They can also be used to hide browsing activity from an internet service provider. Of course, they can also help secure data and allow control access to data, which we’ll get into in the following sections.
VPN for Data Security
As the number of data sources keeps growing, the amount of data that companies hold also keeps growing, meaning that the need to secure this data is as crucial as ever. A VPN is a great way to do so. All data that is transmitted through a VPN becomes encrypted.
Here’s how it works: As soon as a request is sent from the device connected to a VPN, it is encrypted, and the encryption is lifted only once the data reaches the intended destination. This means that only the owner of the device and intended recipients of the data can see the data unencrypted.
If an outsider were to intercept a device’s connection while using a VPN, it would be impossible for them to understand anything. This means that a VPN ensures that unauthorized people cannot access any data, which is especially important in protecting sensitive company data from hackers.
A VPN also helps secure data like browsing activity from ISPs (internet service providers). ISPs usually collect any data they can on users and sell it to third parties who need it for marketing purposes. Once you’re connected to a VPN, the ISP cannot see anything that you do online. All it sees is that you’ve connected to a VPN.
VPN for Access Control
Keeping the data safe means controlling who has access to it. A VPN can act as a point of access to data stored in company servers. By connecting a VPN to your company’s network and database, you can securely provide access to specific people within your company. You can create one VPN for marketing data, another VPN for financial data, and so on. Only employees who have special access to these VPNs will be able to access this sensitive data.
Controlling access to your company’s data is one of the most important things when it comes to security. You should never give random employees access to every piece of information in the company. By using VPNs for access control and dividing your data into several sets, you can ensure that only authorized employees can access the data and that it’s transmitted securely through reliable encryption.
Using a VPN for access control is especially useful when people are working remotely. This way, you ensure that company data is always encrypted and safe from outsiders, even if somebody is on an unsecured network. For example, there are plenty of public Wi-Fi networks that have no encryption, and people keep connecting to them without knowing that they’re exposing their data to any hacker who also connects to that network. With a VPN, you won’t need to worry about the networks that your employees choose to connect to because the data will be encrypted either way.
Downsides of Using a VPN
Since a VPN has to encrypt all of your data and filter your traffic, loading speeds are naturally slower while using a VPN compared to no VPN. There are several VPNs on the market that do offer very impressive speeds, but these cost a bit more than average.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some websites can notice when a user is connected to a VPN to avoid geo-blocked content, and they can block these users. This often happens with streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu.
The final downside to mention is that some countries have banned or highly restricted VPN use. A few examples of these countries include China, Belarus, Russia, and Turkey. Governments ban VPN use because they don’t want users to be completely invisible and anonymous online. So if your company uses a VPN for access control, employees may not be able to access company data if they decide to take a vacation in Turkey.
With how advanced and fast VPNs have become, they can serve many purposes for both companies and individuals. As you just learned, they can help to greatly increase data security and provide easy data control solutions. Although there are certain downsides to using a VPN, the benefits usually greatly outweigh the downsides.