In the ongoing work-from-home kind of a situation, VPNs are being widely used considering the many benefits they offer. The major benefits include enabling employees to work remotely, saving money on travel and office costs, and enhanced productivity. That said, VPNs are no silver bullet and they too are vulnerable to security breaches and hacking. Therefore, to ensure a safe and secure means of VPN-based networking, it becomes imperative to deploy certain measures to boost security and protect against myriad cyber threats.
Encryption levels vary
VPNs make use of encryption keys for encrypting and decrypting at the two far ends of the network. While one end is secure, the wandering end—that enables employees to connect through mobile devices—is relatively vulnerable. This can be particularly challenging if the keys are not handled properly.
Remember, not all VPNs have the same encryption levels. Weak encryption can be easily broken using appropriate algorithms. While the legacy encryption algorithms were effective years ago, they have become weak and hackable now. The problem can get further exacerbated when a VPN is poorly implemented. Further, due to its blackbox nature that causes opacity, the risk to exposure increases. Often, employees also use VPNs that are free. Such VPNs are most susceptible to security flaws and can make the network vulnerable to malware and other cyber threats.
VPNs suffer from vulnerabilities that can be categorized as ‘in design’ and ‘classic’. While the ‘in design’ threats are due to the features of the VPN or errors in logic and installation, the ‘classic’ threats are due to coding issues or errors in the implementation of protocols.
Look for strong encryption, update products regularly
As with any other piece of enterprise IT infrastructure, security teams cannot neglect regular maintenance of VPNs.
To ensure a secure VPN-based networking, organizations must consider using strong encryption algorithms such that it does not allow cybercriminals or unauthorized users to bypass authentication mechanisms, especially when business-critical assets are at stake. Every product must be regularly updated with the latest patches to help remediate any issues that may be identified. Lastly, organizations must take cognizance of the local laws and regulations when deploying VPNs internationally to steer clear of privacy issues.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, Content and Marketing Consultant
She can be reached on LinkedIn.