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How a VPN Protects Sensitive Business Information

Archana Dasa

Data is the lifeblood of success in today's dynamic business landscape. Financial records, customer information, intellectual property - these digital assets are crucial for competition and they demand robust protection. While the digital age has introduced conveniences in the form of blurred geographical boundaries so businesses can operate globally, new security challenges have cropped up that must be tackled. Phishing scams, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, and cyberattacks are some of the significant threats to sensitive business information.


Luckily, there's a solution to overcoming these cyber threats, and that is a VPN or virtual private network. This tool has emerged as a critical line of defense for businesses of all shapes and sizes. But how do VPNs work to protect business information? Continue reading to unveil this secret.


Unveiling The Inner Workings Of VPN


Imagine an encrypted, secure tunnel built over the perilous landscape of the Internet. While there's no literal tunnel built in the digital world, a virtual tunnel is what VPN creates, and this tunnel is encrypted. The key components of this tunnel are:


  • Encryption: Encryption is the cornerstone of VPN security. When data travels through this encrypted VPN tunnel, it gets scrambled. Complex algorithms are used to scramble the data so it becomes incomprehensible and unreadable. This is done to avoid third parties' interception of data. The data can only be read and understood by authorized users with the decryption key. OpenVPN, SSTP, WireGuard, Blowfish, AES-256, and IKEv2 are some of the common encryption protocols used in VPNs. These robust protocols are considered unbreakable by modern computing power.
  • Tunneling: VPNs help establish a secure tunnel between devices (phones, computers, laptops, etc.) and remote VPN servers that are managed by the VPN service provider. All of your Internet traffic is routed through this secure tunnel to ensure it is abundantly shielded from prying eyes, especially when you are working on the go and connected to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.


How VPNs Protect Sensitive Business Information


VPNs offer several layers of protection for sensitive business information as they encrypt data and pass it through a secure tunnel. The different layers of protection are:


  • Confidentiality: Encryption ensures that only authorized individuals can access business documents and other information transmitted over the VPNs. Even if malicious actors manage to intercept the data stream, they will be presented with a scrambled, indecipherable mess. They won't be able to understand the data they've intercepted, and thus, your business information will remain safe.
  • Data integrity: Protecting data confidentiality is not the only function of VPNs. They also protect the integrity of data. Thanks to the encryption process, VPNs make sure that the transmitted data is unaltered throughout the process. It prevents unauthorized tampering and modifications.
  • Improved security on public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being unsecured and they are breeding grounds for cyberattacks. VPNs encrypt data traffic so that it is invisible to anyone trying to snoop on the network. This is critical for business users who need to access confidential information even when they are traveling or working remotely.
  • Masked IP address: VPNs mask the IP address of the device and this adds an extra layer of anonymity. When the IP address is disguised, it becomes difficult for cyber attackers to pinpoint the exact location of your device.


Why Is Safeguarding Business Information Critical?


You are living in a data-driven world, and as already mentioned, data is the lifeblood of small and big businesses. Data encompasses a wide range of assets, including financial records, customer information, trade secrets, and intellectual property. Protecting this information is not only about adhering to regulations but is also essential for maintaining customer trust, assuring business continuity, and safeguarding brand reputation.


If confidential business data falls into the wrong hands, the consequences can be devastating. Not only will it be a financial setback for the particular business, but it will also have far-reaching impacts like losing customers and reputation.


Let us give you a glimpse into the high cost of data breaches that have shaken companies of all sizes and shapes:


  • Significant financial losses: According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report (2023), the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.35 million. Staggering, right? This includes costs associated with containment, detection, investigation, reputational damage, and regulatory fines.
  • Legal repercussions: The devastating effects of data breaches don't stop with financial losses. It is only the beginning. Depending on the nature of the data breach and the laws in your region, businesses might face legal repercussions and hefty fines.
  • Reputational damage: Customer trust can be severely eroded due to data breaches and damage the reputation of the company. Studies have revealed that customers are highly likely to trust brands or businesses with a strong focus on data security.


These statistics and examples paint a clear picture that protecting sensitive business information is not only a concern of the IT department but critical for the growth and success of a business. So, you must take steps to implement robust security measures like VPNs. Making the use of VPNs mandatory across your organization will minimize the risk of data breaches and safeguard your valuable assets.


What Are The Additional Business Benefits Of Using VPNs?


The core functionality of VPNs is encryption, but it also offers additional benefits that make it appealing to businesses:


  • Access control: Businesses wanting to implement access control measures can leverage VPNs. Only authorized users with proper credentials can establish a connection to the VPN server. This helps in restricting unauthorized access to confidential data.
  • Centralized management: Centralized management consoles are usually offered by business VPNs. This makes it easier for IT administrators to deploy, manage, and monitor VPN access across the company.


How Do VPNs Foster Mobility For Businesses?


Mobility is a key factor in today's modern business landscape. Employees are working remotely, and this is no longer a trend but a reality. If your business has a remote workforce, you must take measures to strengthen digital security. After all, your remote workforce will need to access cloud-based resources, connect to the main company network, and collaborate with colleagues worldwide. In this dynamic e environment, VPNs play a critical role by ensuring:


  • Secure remote access: VPNs allow employees to securely access internal corporate networks and resources like applications and file servers from any location worldwide with an Internet connection. Thanks to this, the mobile workforce is empowered to work with no disruptions and no threat to data security.
  • Cloud security: Cloud computing offers flexibility and scalability for businesses. However, data security in the cloud is a concern. Using VPNs will provide an additional layer of security when accessing cloud-based resources. It encrypts data transfer between cloud servers and devices.


Factors To Consider When Choosing A VPN For Your Business


Everything is not about speed when it comes to choosing a VPN for your business. Of course, speed matters, but there are also other key factors you must consider.


  • Security features: Choosing a VPN service provider offering advanced security features and robust encryption protocols will help you in safeguarding your sensitive business data. Also, ensure the VPN provider has a proven track record of security.
  • Server network: A wide network of servers across the globe ensures businesses can continue to function normally from anywhere in the world.
  • Logging policy: Businesses must prioritize VPN providers with a strict no-logging policy. This makes sure that the VPN provider does not store or track your data traffic.


Beyond Safeguarding Business Information: Additional Benefits Of VPNs


Safeguarding sensitive business information is one of the aspects of VPNs. The benefits of using VPNs extend far beyond that. Some of the additional advantages are:


  • Personal privacy: VPNs are not only used for business but also for personal use. They encrypt the Internet traffic and make it invisible to third parties like government agencies, ISPs, etc.
  • Overcoming geographical restrictions: VPNs are an excellent tool when you need to overcome geographical restrictions and access streaming services or websites that are locked in your region. This is also beneficial for businesses as it allows them to access resources worldwide without any restrictions.


Are There Any Limitations To Using VPNs?


VPNs are not a silver bullet. They do offer a powerful layer of security, but it is important to understand their limitations so you can take proper steps to safeguard your sensitive business information.


  • You must be prepared for some overhead because the encryption process tends to add some overhead to the Internet connection. As a result, the connection might slow down and impact your download and browsing speeds. However, this impact is typically minimal.
  • VPNs protect your sensitive business information from snoopers and cybercriminals but it does not protect your device from malware. So, you must always use robust antivirus and anti-malware software to protect your devices.
  • If a device is stolen, a VPN does not offer physical protection. Hence, you must ask your employees to implement strong device passwords so that critical business data does not fall into the wrong hands.


The Bottom Line


Cyber attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Data breaches are becoming more common than ever. As such, businesses must do their best to adopt a layered security approach that will safeguard their sensitive business information and protect their customers.


VPNs emerge as an excellent tool for safeguarding sensitive business information but don't make the mistake of using only VPNs. You must use it in tandem with other security measures, such as robust passwords, 2FA, MFA, etc. Introduce your employees to regular security awareness training so they can easily identify and avoid security threats.

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