VPNs have never been more popular among remote workers

A laptop screen displaying a VPN logo
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For remote workers, the question of security has always been a pressing one, and a new report has found the majority now use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure their connections when working remotely. 

Polling some 1,000 adults that work remotely and have access to a work computer in the United States, YouGov found that just above half (52%) use a VPN all of the time. Another 14% use it sometimes, while 15% use it “rarely”. Another 15% never use the solution, while the remaining 4% don’t know.

When it comes to private matters, VPN usage is not as popular, but a third (32%) reported using a VPN at least sometimes, with 13% of these saying they use one all the time.

Hybrid working was a true saving grace for most businesses, once the lockdown kicked in. However, in many instances, it came at the expense of security. Businesses were turning a blind eye on security in order to keep the business running, risking major incidents, loss of business, a ruined reputation and large fines.

Security challenges for remote workers

Employees would use outdated devices for work, opt for Shadow IT, disregard cybersecurity policies and ignore expert warnings because it got in the way of their work, the study found.

Now, almost two years into the pandemic, it’s clear that remote working won’t be going away any time soon, and businesses are adapting. Besides using a VPN, employees are encouraged to use a separate device for work, keep that device updated, and use only vetted software. 

Organizations are devoting more and more of their IT budgets to supporting their remote workforce with both hardware and software, but also with training and education on how to stay secure while working away from the confines of their corporate networks. 

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.