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June 07, 2024

Optimizing Remote Work Security With Windows VPN

In 2025, 32.6 million employees in the United States are expected to work remotely, which equates to approximately 22 percent of the country's workforce.

This prediction suggests a continuous but gradual shift towards remote work arrangements. It reflects 

employees' growing affinity towards autonomy, flexibility, and work-life balance.

However, remote work has its risks. Among the most frequent concerns are data privacy and network security. Although the level of concern has seen a downward trend, it is still a significant issue businesses must address.

If your remote employees primarily use Windows devices, you can optimize their network security with a virtual private network (VPN) for Windows. How can you find the most efficient provider and set it up?

But first, let's discuss why secure connections are imperative to remote work.

The Importance of Secure Connections for Remote Work

Secure connections are paramount to remote work for the following reasons:

Secure internet browsing

Most employees' workflow relies on the Internet. They also often use multiple devices to accomplish tasks, e.g., smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

With a secure remote access system, you can protect your remote staff from web-based attacks while using the company network. These cyber threats include malware, ransomware, and phishing.

Such attacks can result in unauthorized access and use of company data and employees' personal information.

Authorized access from any device

A secure remote network only grants authorized users access to any compatible device. Employees can seamlessly access company data and files without worrying about security issues.

Additionally, remote security solutions enable your IT and engineering staff to troubleshoot problems remotely.

When a technical issue arises, specialized IT personnel can access a user's device and help them fix it. This way, employees can find a solution without needing in-person interactions or bringing their devices to the office.

Enhanced security awareness

The shift to remote working arrangements has allowed companies to enhance employees' security awareness. By investing in security solutions and educating your workforce on the importance of cybersecurity, you're equipping your employees with a proactive defense against potential breaches.

How VPNs Help Enhance Remote Work Security

VPNs encrypt connections between devices and online networks. They conceal IP addresses to hide browsing histories and locations from hackers and third parties.

Here's how VPNs help strengthen remote work security:

Facilitates high-level network security

Since VPNs mask IP addresses, they can reduce the risk of unauthorized data access and help minimize the possibility of leaving traces in cookies and search histories.

Further, remote employees may access public networks in cafes, libraries, and other public places because they can work outside their homes. Public Wi-Fis are often less secure than private networks, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

But with a VPN solution, you can safeguard your company's data against public network attacks. If hackers try snooping on your employees' web traffic on unsecured networks, breaking through a layer of encryption can be challenging.

Encrypts data transmission

VPNs use end-to-end encryption to ensure maximum security. Data transmitted between remote employees is routed through an encrypted tunnel that shields it against potential breaches and compromises.

Thus, even if hackers intercept the private network, the likelihood of viewing the data is low because of the encryption.

Limits authorized data access

VPNs provide access controls where only authorized individuals can access data. These features help ensure data privacy from internet service providers (ISPs) and third-party service providers.

Data and online activities can still be vulnerable because they are visible to ISPs and third-party service providers, e.g., apps, software, and websites.

With a VPN, your remote employees' cookies, account details, browsing histories, and passwords are hidden from any disclosure to ISPs and third parties. 

As a result, you can ensure maximum security by preventing these companies from accessing and storing information about your organization and staff.

Access geo-restricted content

Some business research materials are unavailable worldwide. Because of geo-restrictions, you won't be able to access these digital resources.

VPNs can bypass these restrictions. Employees can browse content exclusive to certain countries and diversify their research materials for growth and marketing.

This way, your organization can obtain unique data, insights, and perspectives, supporting a more informed decision-making process to establish competitive advantages.

However, not all VPNs can bypass geo-restrictions from countries with strict online censorship and encryption methods.

Furthermore, employees traveling abroad can use a VPN to access your company's internal resources, which may be restricted to specific regions.

Essential Functions To Look for in Windows VPN Providers

Windows VPN providers have varying offers. To choose the solution that best fits your organization and remote staff, here are the following functions to check:

Encryption and security protocols

Encryption is an essential VPN feature that converts data into codes only you can read. A provider with robust encryption can ensure maximum security while facilitating transactions and data transmissions.

For example, a VPN with a 256-bit key advanced encryption standard (AES) offers one of the toughest possible encryptions. Even with brute force and the fastest computers, this encryption is almost unbreachable.

Other robust AES encryption keys available are 128-bit and 192-bit.

Meanwhile, security protocols are methods by which the data is enclosed and transmitted through private networks. They include OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols.

User-friendliness and ease of setup

Prioritize providers with user-friendly VPN configurations to save time and resources and eliminate complex setups.

You can also select a service provider that offers VPN configurations on your company's existing tech stack to avoid increasing your IT and engineering departments' workload.

Thus, you can ensure the setup is correct to prevent technical issues and security loopholes.

Locations, servers, and logging policies

Multiple locations can provide more options to conceal your virtual networks.

Moreover, the higher the number of servers, the faster the connection and speed can be. More servers can also enhance your bandwidth because there's less load per server.

On the other hand, logging policies are data collection methods. They state how providers collect and store your activities. These policies include:

  • No logs: VPN providers don't collect, identify, and store user activities

  • Connection logs: VPN providers store connection logs that record user sessions but not activities

  • Activity or usage logs: VPN providers collect the details of users' online activities when the VPN connections are on

  • Aggregated or anonymous logs: VPN providers collect and store data without linking back to users

Customer support

VPNs are not immune to issues like bugs and connection problems.

Responsive customer support is essential to address these hitches, particularly for non-tech-savvy users. So, pick a provider you can quickly contact through emails, live chat, social media, and phone support.

Also, providers with multiple payment integrations ensure convenience by letting you pay using your preferred channel.

Steps for Setting Up a VPN for Windows

Once you've chosen a provider, here are the steps for setting up a Windows VPN:

Download and install the Windows VPN

The first step involves visiting your chosen provider's website and navigating to the download section.

Then, click the Windows option and download the installation file. Depending on your internet speed, the process often takes just a few minutes.

Afterward, open the file and follow the installation instructions. Ensure the employees have administrative privileges on their Windows devices to complete installation.

Always download VPN software from official websites to avoid malicious versions that can compromise your company data and devices.

Configure the VPN settings

Once the VPN is installed, open it and create an account to set up account credentials. Use a strong password with at least eight characters, numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters to maximize security.

After confirming the account creation, log in using the credentials.

Then, go to the settings menu to customize your security options, such as the encryption level, kill switch, and protocol settings.

For example, enable the kill switch feature to disconnect your internet automatically if the VPN connection drops.

Connect and use the VPN

After configuring the VPN settings, browse the available servers and pick one that best suits your needs. If you need to browse geo-restricted content, choose a server in that specific country or region.

Once connected, the dashboard will display your new IP address and connection status. To confirm if the connection is active, search something on a search engine and see if the results are based on the location you chose.

Connecting to servers close to your location is ideal for faster speeds. For example, if you're in the U.S., connecting to a U.S. server can provide better performance.

Remember to check your connection status regularly to ensure continuous network protection.

Manage your connections efficiently

Always connect to a VPN before working. Then, disconnect if you're switching to online activities that won't require VPN protection. This connection management will help conserve bandwidth.

Other practices to maintain optimal VPN performance include:

  • Regularly update the VPN to fix bugs, enhance performance, and prevent connection glitches.

  • Switch to a different server when you encounter connection interruptions or slow speeds.

Invest in a Windows VPN Today

Windows VPN is a worthwhile investment in an era of sophisticated cyberattacks. Besides protecting your company data and remote workforce, you can expand your organization's research horizon for growth.

With the right service provider, you can maximize your security infrastructure, ensuring highly secure access to corporate resources. It can also empower your employees to work efficiently from anywhere.

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