Did you know that cyberattacks have become one of the fastest-growing criminal activities and that most of them are focused on small businesses? If you’ve transitioned into operating a remote workforce, it’s essential that you install a remote-access VPN to keep your data safe.
It’s a frightening statistic: 43% of cyberattacks are focused on small businesses, but only 14% of those businesses are equipped with the security needed to prevent the breach. As more businesses are turning towards operating with a remote workforce or the option of working remotely some days of the week, it’s essential that employees are able to access the company’s network without compromising security. One of the ways is to install a remote-access VPN.
What Is a Remote-Access VPN?
The term “remote access” refers to the process of connecting and accessing a local network or a computer through the Internet. The ability to remotely access information and network resources boosts work productivity. Employees spend less time commuting to the office and there’s no worry about impeded progress due to inaccessible files. The technologies supporting remote access benefit companies that practice a flexible working environment.
A remote-access VPN is not the same as a consumer VPN, which is usually used for protection from hackers and bypassing geo-restricted content. Instead, a remote-access VPN allows a remote device to connect to a local network while staying secure from online threats.
Remote-Access VPNs vs Consumer VPNs
There’s a distinction between a remote-access VPN and the likes of consumer VPNs. Consumer VPNs are offered by providers like NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark.
Both remote access and consumer VPNs operate by tunneling connections through secure gateways. Encryptions are used in both types of VPNs and the IP address of users is masked from the public in both setups.
Despite the similarity in stealth and security, a consumer VPN is meant for users to access the Internet safely. It’s not designed to protect a company’s local network while allowing remote access.
Even if a consumer VPN is installed on a router, port-forwarding is needed to allow remote access. However, forwarding a port will exclude the connection from the VPN’s protection, thus defeating the purpose of installing a consumer VPN in the first place.
Meanwhile, a remote access VPN is designed for business infrastructure. It allows companies to leverage the secure gateways of VPN providers to create a network of encrypted local connections for the employees.
Read more about consumer VPNs in What is a VPN?
How to Setup a Remote-Access Solution
There are a few ways to set up remote access capability for your business. A crude option is to utilize Windows Remote Desktop and to port forward the service on the router. While this trick allows the use of Windows Remote Desktop over the Internet, it’s also highly vulnerable to malware attacks.
Another quick solution for remote access is to use external storage. You can do so by connecting to storage into a router that supports file sharing. Again, you’ll need to expose the external storage on the Internet via port forwarding. This brings back the issue of security as someone could be looking for access to the network.
However, more companies are turning to remote-access VPN as a viable solution to support their remote workforce. This solution involves setting up a virtual private network for a business where authorized users can log in regardless of where they are.
Why Should I Use a Remote-Access VPN?
A remote-access VPN offers much-needed security when users access a local area network through the Internet. The best VPNs are equipped with highly-secure encryption, often the AES-256. The AES-256 encryption is used by militaries and it’s technically unbreakable.
It also gives you better control over who’s accessing the network. User credentials are needed to access the VPN. Despite promoting a remote working culture, you’ll still need a proper control on user accessibility.
Also, the cost of transmitting encrypted information with a remote access VPN is low and an attractive investment for businesses.
How to Use a VPN for Remote Access
To establish a remote access VPN, a secure network access server (NAS) and VPN client software are required. The network access server (NAS) acts as a gateway for the employees with the VPN client installed.
Often, companies have the option of setting up physical VPN NAS on their premises, but that comes at a high cost and complexity. Instead, the better option is to turn to selected VPN providers that specialize in business remote-access VPNs.
This will allow your company to leverage the secure gateways, servers and the software of the VPN providers. The solution allows employees to log into the company’s network with ease and in a secure environment.
Best VPNs for Remote Access
Compared to consumer VPNs, remote access VPN providers are few and far between. Here are our recommended solutions for remote access VPNs.
1. Perimeter 81
Perimeter 81 offers an unconventional VPN architecture for business networks. Rather than running on physical servers, Perimeter 81 takes a scalable approach by offering network security solutions on cloud architecture. It uses the Software-Defined Parameter model to enable remote access for team members.
2. PureVPN For Business
PureVPN For Business is another viable solution for setting up a remote access VPN. It operates across 2,000 servers in 140 countries and provides dedicated servers for businesses. The plan includes the provision of dedicated IPs, which promotes security in file sharing.
3. NordVPN Teams
NordVPN Teams is a business VPN that allows remote access into an organization’s local network. It provides both private and shared gateways to allow employees to communicate over secure connections. NordVPN Teams has servers in 31 countries, which allows the remote access network to be set up easily in any location.
|Perimeter 81||PureVPN for Business||NordVPN Teams|
|Kill Switch||✅||✅||No (Coming Soon)|
|Number of countries||30||140||31|
|24/7 Customer support||✅||✅||✅|
|Cost (Annual Basic Plan)||$8 user/mo||$8.45 user/mo||$5 user/mo|
Remote access for a business local network shouldn’t come at a cost of security. The risk of having confidential documents intercepted by malicious parties is very real. To support your remote workforce, it’s vital to set up a business VPN.