VPN and teleworking: the corporate vulnerability to coronavirus?


Virtual private networks are overheating as telecommuting activity reaches unprecedented peaks in France. The opening of these external accesses could attract hackers.


[ Updated March 16, 2020 at 8:30 p.m.] At a time when the coronavirus epidemic is pushing French companies to massively switch their employees to telecommuting, the delicate question of opening up access to company applications from the outside arises. In this unprecedented context, VPNs are key solutions for securing the connections of home-based employees to information systems. But in order to function properly and fully play their role in protecting enterprise applications, they must be properly deployed and configured. Obviously, the number of licenses needed to allow employees to connect will first have to be provided. “Then, the server resources on which the virtual private network runs will have to be correctly sized in CPU and redundant to handle the traffic of external accesses”, recommends Damien Mangin, CIO of CCM
Benchmark (publisher of JDN). “The use of SaaS applications in web mode will optimize network transit. On the other hand, if the VPN is to provide access to departmental file servers or to software installed on internal workstations, server and network capacity will necessarily have to be higher.” In the latter case, it will be necessary to equip users, in addition to a VPN, with a desktop remote access solution (such as Citrix or VMware) to allow them to connect remotely to their workstations and the applications installed on them via the famous RDP (for Windows Remote Desktop Protocol). “It is strongly advised to properly configure and monitor access, because the more you open an information system to the outside, the more likely you are to be confronted with attacks exploiting these openings, even if it is a VPN by definition encrypted and secure,” warns Damien Mangin.

Definition of the word VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a type of computer network that allows the creation of direct links between remote computers.

In terms of operation, the VPN is based on the creation of a tunnel (via an encapsulation protocol) between two computers. Although distant, these two computers are then connected to the same local, virtual network.

On the usage side, the free or paid VPN allows certain users to access an internal network (that of a company for example) while remaining geographically distant from this network. But the virtual private network is also used to hide its IP address by connecting outside its own local network. The VPN then participates in strengthening the anonymity of a user when browsing the web and can also be used to bypass the implementation of geographical restrictions and filtering.

In 2016, the free VPNsTotalVPN, TunnelBear, Freedom IP or even the brand new one fromOpera, are references in this field. Among the most popular paid VPNs are NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

Translation of the word VPN

  • Virtual Private Network
  • A virtual private network creates a remote link between two computers.
  • A virtual private network creates a remote link between two computers.

VPN: the players

Network


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