They say information is power, and this is never been truer than in the case of modern enterprises. As businesses become increasingly information driven, the ability to capture, sort and disseminate data can become a bottleneck that can halt the expansion of your company. If your business employs sales staff on the road, home workers or has several office your will have a pressing need to integrate the activities of these employees and collate the information they create as they go about their jobs.
In the past companies were forced to use expensive leased lines and networking equipment to connect remote locations and workers, but new technology has harnessed the ubiquitous power of the Internet to cut costs and allow access to remote networking to a wide range of businesses. This is typically achieved via a Virtual Private Network, which use the infrastructure of the Internet to provide a secure means for employees to communicate.
So, what is a VPN and what are the advantages of implementing such a solution for your business?
What is a VPN?
Virtual private networks are used to connect dispersed individuals and organisations, often using publically available infrastructures such as the Internet. They operate in the same fashion as a local area network, allowing for file sharing, email, remote working and audio / video communication. This can be with other office locations, or remote workers operating in the field.
VPN’s maintain security by implementing tunnelling protocols that sit on top of the Internets existing network protocols. Encryption and authentication are used to insure the integrity of data, and prevent undesired access to sensitive information. A properly implemented VPN offers levels of security that the Internet is not able to match, allowing business to transmit the most crucial of data electronically.
Though many businesses will connect to a VPN via their existing Internet connection many will add DSL, ADSL or leased lines to boost reliability. This approach guarantees minimum downtime for the services the company relies on.
Cost savings and communications:
Video conferencing and VOIP can both be implemented securely across a VPN allowing for virtual meetings and communication. Companies can harness IP technology to integrate their business telephone systems into their data network allowing for huge gains in efficiency. This can foster an attitude of improved communication across an enterprise, and make the steps towards home working seem less obstructive, both of which will lead to considerable savings over time. Home working offers the opportunity to save money, reduce commuting times and provide flexibility for employees.
With an effective VPN solution home workers can have access to the full range of electronic resources that those based in the company offices utilise. Internet based VPN use client/server designs meaning that remote workers will use client software to access the company VPN server. Once a connection is made the remote client can access the companies internal systems as if they were situated locally.