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The rise and future of enterprise VPNs explained

business vpn
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Over the last several years, some important trends related to the use of VPN have emerged among enterprise workers.

The first is that enterprise has used VPN technology to safely connect various facilities, including those located on different continents, into a secure Wide Area Network (WAN). This becomes an efficient way to have a direct connection between corporate locations, cost effectively through the public internet.

The second is the increase in remote workers using a VPN to access corporate resources, including enterprise data, and applications on the corporate server.

In both cases, by forming the connection via a business VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows the data to be transmitted securely through the public internet. This is because the data that is uploaded and downloaded through the VPN is sent through the encrypted tunnel, keeping it secure during transmittal. This point-to-point connection from the remote location or individual user provides a barrier to a denial of service attack (DDOS), which are all too common, and being reported with an alarming increase in frequency. 

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Concerns with VPN enterprise use

The concern with more widespread implementation of VPN services is the bottleneck created for throughput, both in reduction of total bandwidth, and increase in latency.

The issue of latency has become increasingly important with the rise of using enterprise software through the cloud, better known as software as a service (SaaS), and maintaining a quality experience.

Thankfully, the barriers of latency, and bandwidth have been addressed, with Layer 2 Tunneling Protocols (L2TP), and Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) emerging as solutions.

Privacy and security is paramount

Another trend that has emerged in enterprise networking has included software-defined networking. This has been driven by the adoption of cloud services into enterprise IT infrastructure, along with the Internet of Things (IoT). This has enabled network administrators to, via an automated fashion, to manage devices via intelligent pathways.

Enabling VPN technology on a device, whether a desktop PC or via a mobile VPN, has the requirement of manual intervention by the user to actually turn the VPN on. As privacy and security is paramount, this step has the opportunity to be better managed, with automation for this crucial step on the horizon.

In fact, split tunneling could also be applied via automated rules, allowing the sensitive corporate data to remain protected via the VPN, while allowing non-sensitive data to flow directly to the internet.

Head in the clouds

A final trend has been the rise of cloud VPN, also known as VPNaaS. This allows the business to outsource the need to run a local server for its VPN. This is particularly attractive for smaller and medium sized businesses that may have a limited IT Department, or none at all.

This also pushes the burden of keeping the server updated, and secured onto the cloud VPN provider, resulting in a better service, with more security and higher uptime as it gets managed professionally, rather than by a resource limited local IT. With these advantages, it is expected that there will be a rise in the number of businesses that use a cloud VPN. 

Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.