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Small Business VPN

Introduction

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides a secure way for remote and mobile workers to connect to the office network over the Internet and use their mail, files and applications as if they were sitting at their desk. A VPN ensures that only authorized persons can connect to the office network and that all data is secured with encryption so that others cannot snoop on the information being accessed.
Having a VPN provides many benefits to a small business - enabling staff to react quicker to customers and getting more work done by using otherwise idle time.

How a VPN Works

A VPN consists of a VPN Client installed on the user's PC or Laptop which connects to a VPN server installed in the office network. When the VPN Client is launched by the remote user, it will prompt for a username and password. The VPN Client then connects to the VPN server in the office and if the username and password provided are correct, a secure tunnel is created between the PC and the office network. Fig 1. How a VPN Client connects to a VPN Server

Additional security can be provided by using a digital certificate to authenticate the VPN server with client and also by using digital certificates on the client so that the server can authenticate the remote PC.

How to choose a Small Business VPN

Most VPN solutions involve purchasing a VPN Server, configuring the VPN server security and network settings and installing VPN Clients on the remote user PCs. As a small business, you may not have the technical expertise in-house to do this and may have to hire an external consultant. Once installed, the VPN server has to be monitored and maintained to ensure that nobody has comprimised the security of the device and that it has the most up-to-date security patches installed.
An alternative is to use a hosted VPN service such as AccessMyLan which removes the cost and complexity of installing and managing a typical VPN solution, leaving you free to concentrate on your business. Fig 1. How AccessMyLan simplifies VPN access

With AccessMyLan, there is no need to purchase any equipment and the installation and setup do not require any specialist skills. Simply install a small piece of software on a server in the office network and the AccessMyLan service takes care of the monitoring and security of the VPN.

Other Small Business VPN Resources

TechNewsWorld - VPNs and Small Business
Microsoft Small Business Center - VPN: Extend your network and keep hackers out