The New Frontier of WFH: Rise of Corporate VPN and Security Threats

When the term “VPN” is mentioned, it is typically associated with individuals trying to access websites that would otherwise be blocked in their country, or for the super tech-savvy that have much experience in the privacy and security industry to know its benefits. According to Merriam-Webster, VPN stands for “virtual private network, a private computer network that functions over a public network (such as the Internet) and usually utilizes data encryption to provide secure access to something (such as an internal business server or private network).

How does a regular VPN differ from a corporate VPN? According to Dell Technologies Advisors, “…The VPN’s goal is to protect your local connection from Wi-Fi and other snooping locally, then let you make a protected (or mostly protected) connection anywhere on the Internet.” On the other hand, “…corporate VPNs usually consist of hardware deployed in the corporate data center, and those provide point-to-point protection, from an employee’s computer to the corporate network, and back.” However, the downside to this is that although corporate VPNs “…can protect data between a user’s computer and the corporate network, don’t protect other sites on the internet.” And with many businesses “…forced to relax security standards, enough to give network security administrators nightmares”, says John Cavanaugh of NetCraftsmen. As a result, even the top-tier systems put in place still have areas of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

But before we go further, let’s look at some WFH statistics. According to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) — Global Market Trajectory & Analytics Report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., from April to December of 2020 “…88% of IT companies worldwide migrated their employees to work-from-home (WFH) during the pandemic…92% of teams in Asia-Pacific have implemented WFH since the outbreak…45% of employees cite COVID-19 as the trigger for rapid adoption of remote working strategies.” However, it doesn’t end when COVID winds down. “…72% of companies plan to shift a portion of their staff permanently to a WFH model…. over 70% of companies plan to permanently offload over 35% of their workforce to WFM roles to reduce worker density at offices.” In some cases, “…over 35% to 40% will work from home multiple-days-a-week by the end of 2021. The pandemic is creating a global ‘Work-At-Home’ culture which will very likely last beyond the crisis.”

All these statistics point to the rise of not only WFH due to the pandemic but also any related supplemental resources needed (including VPN) to accommodate such measures, which will continue to be needed even after the height of COVID (and with the lack of vaccines in some countries and mutations of the coronavirus in others, a timeline estimate of the “end of COVID” is truly uncertain). It will be interesting to see how the work environment, either fully WFH or a hybrid system, plays out in the coming months and years. Watch this space.

Puffin aims to offer a top-tier browsing experience in both speed and safety for its users, both for personal and enterprise use. Puffin Secure Browser will be able to protect you from threats in the online world, without the need for a VPN. Visit https://www.puffin.com/secure-browser/ to learn more.

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