VPN’s Why NOT to use them

When the pandemic first hit, many businesses scrambled to find a way for employees to access important data from home so they could keep working. For many of our clients, their hosted servers made that part easy. But it turns out some employees kept data and short cuts on local computers at the office (sometimes as expected, sometimes outside policy).

There are several ways to connect remotely to a computer; some are safer than others. A popular request is VPN, and for some clients, this was ‘OK’ on an emergency basis, but we do not recommend it long-term or as a matter of policy. Here’s why.

For our Sage 100 Contractor clients, you cannot and should not run this software over a VPN. It is a database program. Running over a VPN is extremely slow and opens the data to corruption—don’t do it!

For the rest of us, using a VPN to remotely access a computer opens up security risks, especially when the computer that’s trying to connect is a personal/home computer that probably doesn’t have the same level of maintenance or the same security tools in place as the office computers.

Here are some additional reasons NOT to use a VPN:

  • VPN’s are machine-dependent, not by user, by machine
  • These require additional licenses, (read ‘more cost’)
  • VPN’s provide open access to the computer on the other end
  • The security and safety of the home computer is in question; if it’s been compromised, it can now spread the infection to your office and network

What to do? Access to files can be shared through SharePoint from any device, it’s a better experience, they’re backed up, and you already own the licenses. Still need to remotely control a computer at the office? We have safer options to share; just call us.—CMW