The online world today is scary. Identity theft is on the rise. Hackers are creating new and ingenious way to break into computer systems and steal the information they hold. Companies hire whole teams of network administrators to maintain the security of their servers, and programmers are scrambling to keep up with the ever-changing technologies that pop up like mushrooms overnight. Governments impose access restrictions on companies doing business online, leaving many people ‘out of the loop’, so to speak.
A ray of light in all of this doom and gloom is the global economy. Corporations are ever expanding their operations abroad. The need for connectivity is at a premium, but the cost of doing international business is a growing concern for many organizations. Thus, a virtual private network (VPN) looks appealing to many companies. Here, we will look at some pros and cons of VPN and VPN services.
The Pluses and Minuses
Not knowing the pros and cons of a VPN can waylay your best-laid plans. There are a few ‘need-to- know’ points to consider are affordability, scalability and its design and security. There are far more pluses for the case of a VPN than there are minuses. Let’s look at a few.
The corporate world is forever looking to increase its bottom line. As the global economy grows, global connectivity is a must. Companies looking to increase their revenue without increasing their costs will find that using a VPN service to connect their branch offices is far more cost effective. VPN affordability pluses:
- Leased dedicated land lines for each office can double in cost with each new branch that opens, thus inhibiting a company’s growth
- Eliminates long-distance charges for remote dial-up access
- Only one line is needed for connectivity either a broadband (DSL) or local dedicated line as this line will be the access ‘server’ for the remote locations.
A Minus of this affordability is in downtime; when the computers don’t work neither do the people and productivity plummets. A corporation using a VPN service provider no longer has control of connectivity over the internet. Finding a service provider who can guarantee minimal downtime is essential.
Scalability is, in a nutshell, the ability to expand and develop. As a business grows, and it utilizes a VPN, their VPN must also be able to grow. New users are being added, and new access points or devices may be added as well. VPN scalability pluses:
- No need for any new components to be added. New users can be added with ease.
- Makes for more flexible growth
- Mobile devices can be added as well when connectivity becomes ‘on-the-go.’
The Minus to this scalability is in the service providers. It may not always be possible to retain the same VPN service provider to connect your mobile devices to your network servers. The software may not be completely compatible, causing technical issues and loss of connectivity. Conversely, the same service provider can compound added infrastructure, thereby increasing your bill.
VPNs work through tunneling encrypted data over a private, secure connection. Employees working remotely from either their home or in another location other than the home office utilize a VPN just for this purpose. Data can be sent securely and privately without fear of being intercepted or re-routed to another server in another location. Security pluses:
- VPNs offer a high level of security due to the encryptions and tunneling technologies
- VPN service providers are continuously updating IP addresses and other protocols
- Service providers employ highly skilled individuals to monitor traffic continuously and utilize the latest encryption technology.
A minus of VPN security is with its design and falls more within the realm of affordability. VPN security is complex and security issues arise daily. Attempting to administer a VPN in-house can run into big bucks. VPN service providers employ highly skilled people with the latest knowledge to keep on top of the complexities of VPN and to understand any newly arising security issues quickly and efficiently.
Deciding to utilize a VPN for your connectivity needs comes with a fair amount of homework. Due diligence into the pluses and minuses is a must. While some espouse the affordability of VPN services, others see only the “hidden” costs of administering the network and downtime. Here, we give you the compass; it’s up to you to follow it.