With the development of fast and reliable connection technologies and increasing employee productivity, many businesses have turned to virtual private networks (VPNs) to provide a safer and more secure workplace experience for their employees. This post will discuss the ramifications of this increased adoption along with potential solutions to ensure your business is still functioning efficiently even during periods of high network activity.
More Than Meets The Eye
You may have noticed that when you’re browsing the web or using another application on your phone, there are sometimes several tabs or windows open at once. It’s becoming more and more common for employees to have several concurrent connections to different website or services during work hours. For example, a user may log into their email while simultaneously browsing the web or searching for something on social media.
While this may not seem like a problem, multiple connections to untrusted sources could potentially expose your employees to cybersecurity risks. A study by the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report Q4 2019 found that employees are often the weakest link in a business’ cybersecurity posture. That’s because they have access to all the necessary information on the company’s network.
Even if you have the most secure network in the world, if your employees don’t practice good cybersecurity hygiene, it won’t protect you from a determined hacker. Therefore, it’s essential that you educate and train your staff on cybersecurity awareness and keep their behavior in line with good practice.
The Rise in Mobile Use
If you’re reading this, I bet you’re using a cellphone. It’s practically impossible to avoid these devices any more as they’re prevalent in our society and play a crucial part in our day-to-day lives. One of the main reasons why VPNs are on the rise is because of the increased number of employees using them while at work, and the security and privacy benefits that they provide.
A 2019 report from Mimecast Global found that 56% of employees use company supplied devices for personal use and that 40% use them for work-related purposes. Additionally, 77% of employees believe that using a personal device for work boosts productivity. This is why businesses are turning to VPNs to provide a safer and more secure working environment.
The Ubiquity Of Social Media
It’s practically impossible to avoid social media platforms in today’s world, and many companies and businesses have jumped on board the mobile content creation and consumption train, utilizing platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to engage with customers and build communities.
This has created a new set of circumstances for VPNs as employees can now consume content from multiple sources while also being able to work remotely. That means they might be able to use a VPN to consume content that’s not suitable for viewing on the company network. For example, if a user is browsing Netflix at work, this could potentially put the enterprise at risk. While you might not always want your employees to access content that’s not work related, there are certainly cases when this could be desirable.
The Demographics Behind The Trend
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you’re already familiar with the demographics of the present day workforce. If not, here’s a quick overview: 68% of the United States workforce are now made up of millennials, and this generation is more mobile, diverse, and globalized than any that came before them. With the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools, employees can access training materials from home and take online tests to update their skills. This flexibility makes the demographics more susceptible to working remotely and using VPNs to connect to the internet.
In fact, a 2019 survey from Global Market Navigator found that 79% of employees would leave their current job if they had the opportunity to work remotely. This makes sense, as 62% of employees are already looking for a job in a different location and are more likely to accept a contract that allows them to work remotely.
The Implications For Your Business
With all of this in mind, it’s important to keep in mind the implications this may have for your business. One important thing to consider is what would you do if one of your employees connected to an untrusted network while on the clock? Would you continue to allow the connection, or would you block it?
If you decide that you want to allow the connection, how would you monitor or restrict access to content that’s not suitable for viewing on the company network? Would you whitelist certain websites and services, or would you block all traffic not originating from a trusted source?
These are all important questions to ask yourself as you try to determine the best course of action for your business. Although implementing a VPN can be a hassle, the security and privacy benefits make it an essential tool for every business.