We believe it was poetess Elizabeth Barret Browning who said, “O’ corporate VPNs, why do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.” Considering that Browning died in 1861, either the hatred of corporate VPNs transcends time or legacy VPNs really are as ancient as they seem!
In all seriousness, VPNs really do suck. Let’s take a moment to vent about why we all hate them with a fierce and burning passion.
TL;DR: VPNs improve your IT security, but at a huge cost to your business productivity and employee happiness. There’s a lot of reasons to hate VPNs, but there’s also a lot of replacements that work a ton better. Ask for more info.
A “virtual private network” is a way to create a (mostly) private internet connection when working remotely or accessing your company’s data through sketchy Wi-Fi at hotels, coffee shops, airports, etc.
VPNs encrypt your internet connection itself to create what IT experts refer to as “tunnels,” that directly connect your laptop or mobile device to the data you’re working with. This better protects your data as it travels to your company’s servers, a website, or what have you. This level of protection matters for IT security because, without a VPN, spying eyes from cybercriminals and internet service providers (ISPs) can peek in on your private data as it passes through the Wi-Fi router.
For consumers, VPNs simply make the internet rage-inducingly slow. For businesses: OMG. Rage isn’t even the world. VPNs can make everyone in the corporate world see red.
Why? Well, not only do legacy VPNs make the internet ‘90s-era slow, they also require employees to log on to a generic (and ugly) terminal server that looks like what you saw on your desktop in the ‘90s. This generic desktop setup, combined with the molasses-slowness, makes it hard for employees to find and use the tools they need to get work done.
Little known fact: IT hates that legacy VPN too. It’s time consuming to add apps to remote desktop setups and monitoring the traffic is a nightmare. Plus, did we mention that they’re slow? The speed thing creates issues at peak times (you know, like the workday), and makes everything slower and/or nonfunctional.
Finally, legacy VPNs create this huge security flaw in our modern world due to their permissions. Much like an in-office firewall, legacy VPNs trust that everyone inside the network is someone who’s been allowed in, so when a cybercriminal manages to phish login credentials to the corporate VPN, they have full access to everything. Ouch.
Oh, and one more thing! To add extra bother, you have to install and maintain the darn things on every device you’ve got, and they rarely play nicely with mobile devices.
Look. These days we’re all working from home and when we’re finally allowed out of the house, we’re going to be working from a lot of places that aren’t home (hooray!), but also aren’t the office (hooray!) In a remote work world, it’s time to kick that corporate VPN to the curb and replace it with cloud-centric services that work better.
Cloud services work better for IT security because they function on the assumption that the internet is just not a safe playground anymore. They automatically encrypt your data by default, which covers you even if your internet connection itself isn’t protected by a VPN. Of course, you can also combine the best of all possible worlds and get a cloud-based VPN.
Some of the tools we like include:
Interested in getting rid of that clunky, awful VPN you hate? Of course you are. You’re a sane and rational human being.
Worried about the effort it’ll take to find and set up something new, especially while everyone is working remotely and IT troubleshooting takes a zillion times longer? Of course you are. We already established that you’re a sane and rational human being.
Fortunately, there’s a way around all these obstacles. You can get the cloud-centric solution you want, without the hassle, when you work with Interplay. We’re one of Seattle’s top IT services firms (and also one of the longest standing). We’re also really friendly and approachable folks and we provide full IT support for you and your staff.
For 20+ years, the friendly and knowledgeable team for IT services in Seattle, Interplay, has helped business leaders across a range of industries get more out of their tech, stress free. Not only are we always (and we mean always) happy to offer the best managed IT services, support, and advice, we’re also the team you can trust for the best cocktail recommendations here in Seattle or in Disney World – we’re versatile! All humor aside though, we’d love to help you get your IT running smoothly and securely, around the clock.