VPNs have also be­come the go-to solution to pro­tect sen­si­tive com­pany data

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - Peter Ken­ter

We of­ten think of a vir­tual pri­vate net­work ( VPN) as a con­sumer ser­vice that max­i­mizes In­ter­net free­dom while pro­tect­ing user pri­vacy. For small and medium- sized busi­nesses, VPNs have also be­come the go- to solution to pro­tect sen­si­tive com­pany data and shield business com­mu­ni­ca­tions from pry­ing eyes.

“The pri­mary rea­son that these busi­nesses use a VPN is to keep their data se­cure when em­ploy­ees are work­ing out­side the of­fice,” says Ben­jamin van Pelt, founder and CEO of global VPN provider TorGuard.

At some point, most em­ploy­ees will find them­selves forced to use a pub­lic hotspot or Wi- Fi ser­vices from a ho­tel or air­port.

“These net­works can be eas­ily com­pro­mised by bad ac­tors,” says Van Pelt. “A small hand­held de­vice known as a Wi- Fi pineap­ple can scan the area for lo­gin re­quests and then pre­tend to be the trusted net­work you want to sign onto. The per­son sit­ting next to you at the cof­fee shop may not just be writ­ing bad po­etry — they could be down­load­ing your sen­si­tive business in­for­ma­tion.”

TorGuard’s business VPN ser­vice drills a se­cure tun­nel through the net­work to se­curely con­nect em­ploy­ees with their busi­nesses. Even on in­se­cure net­works, hack­ers will de­tect noth­ing of value.

Se­cu­rity is also im­por­tant at a com­pany’s home base. A TorGuard VPN can en­crypt all in­for­ma­tion shared be­tween users so that this in­for­ma­tion is un­de­ci­pher­able to out­siders.

“They need to lock down their in­ter­nal net­works with a se­curely en­crypted layer placed over their In­ter­net ser­vice,” says Van Pelt. “A VPN en­crypts data so it can’t be used or un­der­stood by cor­po­rate spies. Your In­ter­net ser­vice provider ( ISP) might also rou­tinely log any­thing from sen­si­tive cor­re­spon­dence to con­tracts and trade se­crets that you trans­mit. En­cryp­tion makes the data worth­less to any­one who hacks your ISP.”

TorGuard’s ser­vices aimed at medium- sized busi­nesses also of­fer a range of ded­i­cated, en­crypted VPN IPs — unique ad­dresses that iden­tify spe­cific users who log onto the com­pany’s business net­work.

“Each of these unique IP ad­dresses can be as­signed to spe­cific em­ploy­ees who have ac­cess to sen­si­tive sys­tems,” says Van Pelt. “If I as­sign a spe­cific VPN IP ad­dress to the sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tor, only that per­son is able to ac­cess ar­eas of the net­work as­signed to them. Ac­cess us­ing any other IP ad­dress will be de­nied. It’s one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to im­prove se­cu­rity and pro­tect business por­tals from unau­tho­rized ac­cess.”

In coun­tries such as Rus­sia and China, the noose is tight­en­ing on business VPNs, which are ei­ther be­ing out­lawed or re­placed by state- ap­proved ser­vices.

The pri­mary rea­son that busi­nesses use a Vpn is to keep their data se­cure when em­ploy­ees are work­ing out­side the of­fice.

“That’s made it dif­fi­cult for con­trac­tors work­ing for Cana­dian com­pa­nies in those coun­tries to se­cure their In­ter­net us­age,” says Van Pelt. “They’re also blocked from us­ing business tools such as Google apps, Slack and Drop­box. We’ve com­mit­ted a lot of re­sources to en­sure that we of­fer sev­eral ap­proaches to stealth VPN, each de­signed to over­come a spe­cific form of govern­ment con­trol in those coun­tries.”

Each stealth VPN tech­nol­ogy fea­tures dou­ble- lay­ered en­cryp­tion so that govern­ment cen­sors can’t spot the se­cure VPN tun­nel. Once logged in to the TorGuard ser­vice, con­trac­tors can re­turn to business as usual.

“But my ad­vice to busi­nesses is the same, whether they op­er­ate en­tirely in Canada or in­ter­na­tion­ally,” says Van Pelt. “If you’re not fully in con­trol of your net­work, then you want to use a VPN.”

GETTY IMAGES

TorGuard’s business VPN ser­vice drills a se­cure tun­nel through the net­work to se­curely con­nect em­ploy­ees with their busi­nesses. Even on in­se­cure net­works, hack­ers will de­tect noth­ing of value.

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