A virtual private network (VPN) has existed for a long time, but its use has only recently experienced an explosion. Everyone from the everyday Internet user to large organizations is using VPNs to secure their online access. This is a sad reality that we must face. When the Internet first came into existence, it was supposed to be a free decentralized service. The Internet uses radio waves to transmit signals. In a perfect world, the radio waves are free and open to anyone. No one controls them. But in the real world, to be able to get to radio waves, users need to pass through several centralized networks, such as the Internet service providers.
Internet services are controlled mostly by large corporations like AT&T and Comcast. These corporations are not only monopolistic but are also politically influenced. This doesn’t keep the Internet free or decentralized anymore. Ever since the Internet began to be so accessible to people all over the world, large corporations have bought radio waves and control their use.
When you pay them money, you get to use the Internet. The ones who pay more get more advantages. The person who’s on a basic plan gets fewer benefits than the one who’s on a premium package.
The Conventional Use of VPNs
This is how it’s always been, so people were used to it. But Internet service providers have been given more power after the open Internet order was revoked in December 2017, signaling the death of Net Neutrality in the process.
From the 11th of June this year, it has taken effect. Not only do the Internet service providers now have the freedom to block sites and applications at will but they can also collect your data without consent and track all your internet activities. There’s no way users can stop them from doing so.
This has led to the rise in using VPNs. When you use a VPN, your Internet traffic is passed through a secure tunnel between your device and the secure VPN server. This protects your data from unauthorized interception and theft. Even if cybercriminals and hackers get access to your network, the traffic will be unreadable to them because of the encryption.
The Downside of VPNs
VPNs have usually been the go-to solution organizations, but aside from the staff within the company, a lot of access requests to corporate networks come from outside.
In that case, the use of traditional VPNs comes with many downsides, which include the increased risk of unauthorized remote access to sensitive data. Any user with the VPN login details can access the network, but when access requests come from outside the organization, it isn’t too easy to trust the users logging in.
From the beginning, cybersecurity practices at organizations have been restricted to the perimeter, which means the outer shell may be hard to crack but not entirely impossible. This means that whoever gets past the perimeter has access to all information.
A VPN is simply guided by a username and password. Even those who don’t have access to those details can use some technical tweaks to break in. This makes traditional VPNs unsafe for use in organizations.
Another issue that faces organizations is employees working remotely and the risk of multiple vulnerable endpoints, heightened by the increasing number of unmanaged devices with access to the corporate network.
It isn’t always possible for IT administrators to keep track of the devices accessing the network. If the official record states that 800 devices access the network, in reality, the number may be 2,000.
A VPN may be good for individual users, but not for corporate networks. Given the risks associated with using VPNs for corporate networks, organizations have been trying to find better alternatives. The ideal security solution is one that allows the easy access or restriction to certain applications.
This results in the tighter control of the corporate network and reduces the number of endpoints access to the network. Such a solution focuses on trusted access for both the user and their device, instead of allowing anyone with the VPN username or password.
This approach is also beneficial for users because it lets them get secure access to the corporate network from any device and from anywhere in the world, without the need for installing unnecessary software or remembering login credentials.
When organizations opt for better security solutions and stop using a VPN it not only tightens the cybersecurity of the network but also helps save on VPN costs. In the ideal solution, IT administrators can restrict full network access to users who do not need it, therefore reducing costs.
Using a VPN in This Instance Smartly
A VPN can also be used, but the internal security also needs to be strengthened, so that someone who gets unauthorized access to the network doesn’t get to see sensitive data. We have all seen the amazing movie Blackhat, we know the threats out there.