VPN is an important offering in Columbia Networks’ portfolio of private networking solutions. With the rise in the number of threats to online security, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an especially vital service. It’s important to be cautious at every turn.
Much like firewalls and anti-virus tools protect your data on your computer, VPNs protect it online as it travels through cyberspace. Just as every computer should have the protection of a firewall and anti-virus/malware programs, every business should strongly consider a Virtual Private Network for network security anytime data is being shared across the internet.
“Does my business need VPN?”
The extra security supplied by VPN is especially important if your organization has members or employees who travel or simply work remotely, whether it’s from a satellite office, their home, a coffee shop, or an airport. VPN secures and privatizes data across the Internet by building an “encrypted tunnel”. When you access Internet using VPN, your data passes through this tunnel which protects it from anyone who tries to intercept it.
To further illustrate what happens in the tunnel, an encrypted security association is established between two tunnel endpoints. Only the destination tunnel endpoint can unwrap packets and decrypt the packet contents. Even if cyber-snoopers did manage to siphon off some of the transmitted data, they’d be unable to access it because of the encryption.
This vital extra layer of security is why increasing numbers of businesses and even individual users are choosing a VPN. Unfortunately, some organizations finally decide to take action only after they’ve become the victim any number of attacks.
Don’t make friends with these Intriguing names.
Many attacks have intriguing names like “Honeypot” and “Firesheep.” But let’s look at just one of them: Wi-Fi spoofing. In this attack, also known as “Man in the Middle,” the attacker establishes trust by modeling a portal after a familiar brand or a familiar experience.
Let’s say you or a colleague are trying to access Wi-Fi, from your hotel room on a mobile device, either an IOS or Android. You’ll see a login page that contains the hotel’s logo and familiar information. Nothing looks amiss. But what’s happening behind the scenes? Someone has simply plugged a wireless router with an Internet connection into the hotel Ethernet port and given the network the same name as the official hotel Wi-Fi network. You or an employee accept the company’s Terms and Conditions or enter in a hotel room number. Now what happens? Attackers go phishing—helping themselves to credit card information and potentially other information vital to your business or organization.
What was just a routine action, done perhaps a thousand times before in a hotel or coffee shop before, has now opened the door to an unwelcome and potentially costly business “associate.” The ease of such an attack is noted in the 60 Minutes Documentary.
All it takes is one action by one person in your organization to open up a most unwelcome chain of events, breaching the privacy of clients and employees or associates. What would the immediate costs be to your organization? How about the long term costs and reputation management issues that will arise? Consider also the costs of downtime as your business scrambles into damage-control mode.
The cybersecurity breaches we hear about in the media are simply the tip of the iceberg. The potential breach to your organization may not be large enough to make the national news, but it may be large enough to cause serious damage.
“What do I need to understand?”
“I’m not tech-savvy,” you say. “I don’t understand encrypting, unwrapping and decoding.” Good news. You don’t need to. Nor do you need to know the often strange names and behaviors of cyber-attacks. Columbia Networks provides VPN to make it easier to use and more accessible for users who are not necessarily tech-savvy or keen on delving into the intricacies of encryption protocols. Whatever your own level of knowledge is, it’s important to have the peace of mind of knowing that your business or organization is receiving the best cyber-security possible from a well-established company with a full suite of solutions.
Whether your company or organization operating in Canada is Canadian or foreign, at Columbia Networks, we can provide effective and highly secure private networking solutions— within Canada and to many international destinations. Contact us today. We’ll work with you to determine your cyber-security needs.