The benefits of site-to-site VPNs when moving to the cloud

Maintain control of and access to corporate assets

The Virtual Private Network (VPN) has been an important part of enterprise computing for many years. For many companies, it remains a key method to enable secure remote access to corporate network resources. Security has become the prime concern for organizations as they increasingly adopt cloud computing. Implementing a site-to-site VPN solution delivers a highly secure means to maintain control and access of corporate assets in a cloud environment. But what should you look for in a site-to-site VPN?

Companies in every industry sector are moving rapidly towards the cloud. According to IDC, worldwide spending on public Cloud computing will be more than $160 billion by 2020—almost double the spending in 2017. Forbes suggests that 80% of all IT spending will be on Cloud solutions by 2019. However, data security and cyberattacks are a major concern when transitioning to the cloud.

Every enterprise needs a secure way to transfer data between offices, among users and to share it with partner companies. A secure VPN solution is very often the best approach to achieve this in a cloud environment.

TechTarget says: “The cloud computing infrastructure is comprised of hosts, servers and network transports. The multiplicity of devices and transports and the abstraction of management and trust require enterprises to layer security throughout to ensure data and connections are properly protected”. The publication states that VPN “is considered the most secure and can decrease vulnerability exposure”.

The cost of data breaches

As cloud computing increases, so does the concern about the security of the public cloud infrastructure. Forbes quotes research showing less than a quarter of organizations trust public clouds to keep their data secure. This is hardly surprising as the amount of reported data breaches explodes. In 2017, it’s estimated that over 99 billion records were exposed due to data breaches —data breaches in healthcare increased by 426% from the previous year.

It is estimated that the average cost of a data breach will be over $150 million by 2020, with the global annual cost forecast to be $2.1 trillion. The financial cost is just one aspect of data breaches. Reputational damage can be worse and, in some cases, fatal. For example, the data breach at Nortel led to one of the world’s largest telecom companies closing.

Business today relies on the fast and secure transmission of data within the organization, with remote workers and with trading partners and suppliers. An organization must ensure protection for vital corporate data and intellectual property while delivering the level of access to the right people at the right time. An enterprise site-to-site solution is ideally suited to this task.

Why implement a site-to-site VPN?

An enterprise site-to-site VPN allows offices anywhere in the world to establish secure connections with each other over a public network. This includes any number of branch offices connecting with head office as well as connecting one company with its partners and supply chain. In addition, a VPN also allows for user-to-office connection to easily enable remote working.

The power of a VPN solution—such as the OpenText™ PositivePro—is its ability to combine the highest levels of security with ease-of-use and cost-efficiency.  Traditional remote access VPNs were designed to connect remote workers to the corporate office. They required that a VPN client was attached to every machine and all users had to have a little technical know-how to use the VPN. In some cases, the VPN server at the corporate office sat outside the firewall, making the system slightly more vulnerable.

A site-to-site VPN resides on a server within the corporate firewall and removes the need for a VPN client on every server and device. The VPN solution creates a secure tunnel to the public Cloud that provides highly secure end-point connectivity that an authorized user can access via the browser-based device of their choice.

5 key components of a site-to-site VPN

Using an enterprise VPN lessons security concerns while decreasing costs and reducing administrative burden. So, what should you look for when considering a site-to-site VPN solution?

  1. Watertight security

The VPN you select should provide the highest levels of security. Data must be protected at rest and in transit through comprehensive authentication, authorization and administration. It must be able to support key management and security policies and ensure that all relevant policies are applied before any connection is made.

A VPN delivers sophisticated security controls that ensure that common Secure Socket Layer (SSL) traffic and other types of cyberattacks are simply ignored. If the data traffic does not have the correct authentication then it is immediately dropped from the network.

2. Ease of operations

The important aspect for any VPN is that the system must be highly secure but also deliver high performance and ease of use. Users should be able to access the network via a web browser interface. The best networks shield the end-user from much of the VPN complexity and automate much of the set-up process without the need for them to know about email or firewall protocols. This simplified operation also significantly reduces work for the support team.

As the use of tablets and mobile devices becomes the primary way that many uses access the corporate network, the solution you select should be able to create a secure VPN connection with virtually any mobile device.

In addition, a VPN managed service reduces a great deal of the administrative burden. Managing the remote side is virtually removed and you have centralized control over the complete network with a single infrastructure. A VPN affords a fast, easy and effective means to upgrade security policies and procedures while ensuring you always comply with the security regulations in the markets where you operate.

3. Simple and secure scalability

A VPN is incredibly scalable. It is easy to add a new user, site, office or partner company to the network. Without the need to add VPN clients to every new connection, it is fast and cost-effective to add more connections. If you need to relocate a remote office, it is almost pain and cost free to set up the new location.

4. Business continuity

Effective disaster recovery and business continuity are key for all businesses. Unplanned events such as power outages, natural disasters or terrorist attacks can impact your business. A VPN can deliver a high degree of remote access during an emergency. Connectivity to new devices or locations is easily reassigned so that employees can work from home or another office. In this way, you can minimize downtime and ensure productivity.

5. Flexible deployment

Using a VPN should allow you to deploy a solution for secure managed access in the way that best suits your business. OpenText PositivePro offers Cloud, hybrid Cloud, user access or full managed hosting.

The benefits of a VPN managed service

When organizations implement an on-premises solution, the VPN often becomes a pain point. The system can be costly to implement and maintain, and requires full time expertise to properly manage—especially where an enterprise is expanding. It is difficult to ensure that the VPN system remains current as upgrades and enhanced technologies appear.

The answer for many companies is to move to fully managed hosting from a trusted service provider. This allows them to focus on their core business while the provider ensures they have the secure data connectivity they need to drive business agility. They have a single, scalable solution to connect all offices and partners throughout the world. The entire set-up, upgrade and change processes are handled by VPN experts that deliver reliable anytime, anywhere support.

The best managed services providers can provide their own cloud infrastructure to deliver enhanced performance, security and scalability. For example, the OpenText PositivePro managed service is based on our own cloud to ensure that your exposure to the public cloud is kept to a minimum.

To find out more about how a VPN can help secure your vital data, join us at OpenText Enterprise World 2018 for the Business Network session entitled, “BNX-110 Improve privacy & productivity with secure remote access for employees, partners & providers.” If you’d like to talk with someone today, simply complete the contact form beside this blog.

Karen Bieniek

As Senior Product Marketing Manager for OpenText Business Network, Karen directs product marketing efforts for Secure Connectivity, Product Lifecycle Management and Transaction Delivery/EDI solutions in the Automotive and Healthcare sectors. Karen has more than 20 years of experience leading and executing global marketing strategies for companies in the Enterprise Software, Automotive, Healthcare/Medical Device, and other industries.

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