vpn type

What are the different types of VPNs for remote work

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VPNs are very important in supporting the current landscape of remote work. There are different types of VPN solutions on the market, and users need to choose the one appropriate for its intended use. Remote work and in-office jobs may require alternate types of VPN software. The types of VPN tunnel used to secure data is a critical factor in making the selection. Let’s look at the technology behind various VPN types for remote work.

Remote access VPN

A remote-access VPN gives an organization the peace of mind that all traffic between employees and corporate networks is secured and that the data transmitted is encrypted.

With remote access VPN, a tunnel is created between the corporate network and the remote user. Even when connecting on a public internet connection, the tunnel creates a private connection with data encryption keeping it safe from prying eyes.

The downside of using remote access VPN is that it is not optimized for the ever increasingly popular cloud-based environment. Remote access VPN is typically aimed at an environment where remote users are sitting around the internal data center.

With the current work from a home model, employees are scattered far and wide. Distance hampers performance and latency becomes an issue.

Site-to-site VPN

Site-to-site VPN differs from remote access VPN in that it connects networks to each other rather than individual devices to a network. Site-to-site is especially useful for various branches of a company to connect to the head office. This can apply to branches in different geographical locations as well.

Site-to-site VPN

Site-to-site VPN allows organizations to create a secure means to share resources across the corporate network instead of relying on multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) circuits that rely on linking routers across networks.

Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)

The IPSec VPN tunneling protocol maintains secure data transmission with data packet encryption and authenticating session connections. Two encryption passes are performed. A message is encrypted inside a data packet and the packet undergoes additional encryption. IPSec is often used in combination with other protocols for increased security. Site-to-site VPN configurations frequently use IPSec because of its extensive compatibility.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)

This protocol generates a secure tunnel between two L2TP endpoints. After connectivity is established, data is encrypted before transmission with another protocol such as IPSec. Its complex architecture results in strong security that makes it attractive for site-to-site connections.

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

PPTP creates a secure tunnel with a PPTP cipher. Unfortunately, the computing power available to cybercriminals has essentially made this protocol obsolete. A brute-force attack can crack the cipher, developed in the 1990s, and subvert attempts at securing data transmission. PPTP is rarely used today as stronger security and encryption are preferred by most organizations.

SSL and TLS

The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols use the same technology that secures and encrypts HTTPS web pages. The protocol forces the web browser to take the role of a client with limited access to designated applications instead of providing access to a complete network. Most modern web browsers have native SSL and TLS connectivity, eliminating the need for additional software. Remote VPNs make extensive use of the SSL/TLS protocols.

Secure Shell (SSH)

The SSH protocol creates encrypted connections and secure channels that enable port forwarding to remote devices. This protocol is an acceptable option for connecting to your work desktop from your home computer. The flexibility of SSH comes at a price, as connections should be monitored closely to prevent using the entry point to launch a cyberattack or data breach. Remote setups offer the best usage scenario for this protocol.

VPN and its role in remote work

A VPN allows your workforce to connect to the company network from any location as long as they have an internet connection. Companies have to make the option available for employees that may not be sick but need to be isolated, or if they have family members they need to care for. Without the ability to work from home, the lost productivity is an added burden on all organizations.

VPN role

In May 2020, the Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU) found that the number of people working from home was at 5.5% and it was expected to increase to over 16% even after the pandemic.

It is forecast that by 2025, 22% of the American workforce will be working remotely. With such ever-increasing numbers, it’s imperative for all companies to be prepared to handle the increasing demand for remote access to the company networks.