Internet security is a top concern for your customers. As their broadband installer, you provide their first line of defense by supplying lockable enclosures that secure the network against physical threats. You also connect them to online protection provided by their Internet service provider. But some of your customers need additional security tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
As more people work remotely, run businesses from home and use mobile devices to access smart home controls, more information travels the public Internet where information is vulnerable to a variety of attacks.
A VPN is a virtual version of a secure physical network. VPNs use encryption and other security measures to protect your customers’ data. It will also hide the IP address of the user, sharing only the IP address of the VPN.
VPNs can be set up on a single device, on a network using a PC or a dedicated VPN router, or they can be delivered via a third party. To make the right choice, your customers should know a little about how VPNs work.
The most important feature in selecting a VPN is the encryption protocol. Some VPNs use proprietary protocols. The rest will use one of the following methods.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
PPTP has been around since dial-up networks were common. Supported by all of the common PC and mobile operating systems, it’s easy to set up. It doesn’t use a lot of processing power, so it’s fast. But, this is the least secure protocol.
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
L2TP is usually paired with IPSec for encryption. This protocol pairing works with all major operating systems, and no known weaknesses exist. It’s relatively fast, but it has difficulty operating with firewalls.
OpenVPN is a technology that uses a combination of protocols. It is considered very secure, and is widely supported by third party software. OpenVPN is slower than other protocols, and it’s complicated to set up.
Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)
SSTP is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft. Considered as secure as OpenVPN, it’s a good option for anyone working in a Windows environment.
How to Choose?
Your customers first need to consider whether they need a VPN at all. If they use their devices on public Wi-Fi in hotels or cafes, they should consider a VPN. If they access home files from these locations, a VPN is a must. The same goes for your customers conducting business over the Internet.
For personal use, L2TP/IPSec may offer enough protection. OpenVPN is better, but your customers may compromise on speed. For a Windows machine, SSTP is a solid option that requires no additional software purchase.
Business Internet users should work with their IT department to select the right VPN. They should avoid PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec is not an option if their business network uses a firewall.
VPNs Can Spy
A VPN service is a great option for many of your customers, but one thing they need to keep in mind is that a commercial VPN will protect them from outside attacks, but nothing is stopping their VPN from spying on them.