In the last decade, many enterprises having facilities spread across multiple continents have adopted digital systems. Wide Area Networks (WANs) are extensively used to interconnect those digital systems. However, WANs are mainly built upon telephone leased lines that are too expensive for enterprises. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have emerged as a cost-efficient solution for enterprises; VPNs use a less expensive and widely available public network, the Internet.
VPN is a networking architecture that utilizes the public network to support secure communication between many branches or users. In VPN architecture, a secure medium is established within the public Internet, forming a tunnel between the sender and receiver for sharing sensitive data. This way, VPN has empowered enterprises to expand their services to connected branches and remotely working users like employees, partners, and branch servers.
A major reason for the adoption of a VPN is to tackle increasing cyber or denial of services (DDOS) attacks to the enterprise network. As per Verizon’s report, 43% of cyber-attack breaches involved small business victims. With its tunneling capability, VPN establishes a point-to-point connection between branch/users and servers on the Internet.
How VPN is powering enterprises?
We have seen the explosion of digital devices in the form of laptops, mobile, and many devices that are used in business operations. Employees of any enterprise are spread in different parts of the world, and multiple businesses are collaborating to share their private networks for the exchange of application data. VPN is helping to keep the connection secure and private, enables data encryption, and allows device scanning capabilities for any malware presence on devices.
The use of VPN services has created a bottleneck for enterprises as it reduces the network speed and slows down data-related operations. But due to the emergence of layer 2 tunneling protocols (L2TP) and virtual private LAN service (VPLS), the issue of network speed was addressed, and it is now possible to run latency-sensitive business applications on VPN.
Another key benefit is that a VPN establishes a common logical network over the Internet that can be accessed from any country. The Internet is easily accessible in any country, thus enabling secure connectivity while enterprise users travel across many countries. Such access is important because some countries have blocked several portals in their public internet access. Also, some countries have formed regulations for data exchange with the rest of the countries in the world. VPNs can be useful in that case to bypass these kinds of rulesets.
There are many VPN providers in the market today. All of them offer features that are suitable for businesses with a different scale. While choosing a VPN for business operations, enterprises should keep in mind the security perimeters offered by VPN, the number of servers spread across the world, dedicated IP support, logging policy, data encryption, level of configuration, device compatibilities, impact of performance on business network, and the tentative scale of enterprise network.
Many security solutions companies have entered the VPN market. McAfee acquired the TunnelBear VPN, and Norton has launched a VPN for mobile users. According to the Global Market Insights report, the VPN market was $18 billion in 2018 and will hit the $54 billion mark until 2024.
Future on VPN
In the last five years, the concept of virtualization and software-defined networking has shaped the technology ecosystem of enterprise IT infrastructure. This rapid change is driven because of the usage of cloud services along with an explosion in the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. Network admins are focusing on managing and defining policies to all the connected devices from one pane of glass in an automated and intelligent way.
Currently, the manual intervention of users is required to enable VPN on their devices. VPN is supposed to make a transition to enable automation and intelligence for architecture and connected devices in upcoming years.
Another trend that developed a few years back was that tech giants like Google, Facebook, and McAfee launched cloud-based VPN services to replace traditional VPN. This move was a response to be aligned with cloud services offered over the Internet. In upcoming years, cloud VPN will be more adopted as the move to cloud increases.