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Why a cloud VPN might make sense for business
Some companies are currently wondering whether the hype about cloud VPNs is justified or not. That's why we want to clarify in this article what makes a virtual private network (VPN) from the cloud different than a classic VPN, when it might make sense for business, and why many IT decision-makers are still hesitant.
In a classic VPN, remote employees connect to the VPN gateway on the company network via a secure VPN tunnel. From there, they either use internal resources – or they return to the Internet and then access cloud applications such as Microsoft 365 or Salesforce. A cloud VPN does not take such detours. Instead, it connects users directly to the cloud applications via a VPN service that is also hosted in the cloud.
We probably don’t need a reminder of the last couple of years: The strong increase in demand for VPN connections, especially at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, pushed some infrastructure to its limits. At that time, many companies had to learn painfully that they had designed their VPN capacities too sparingly. Rigid VPN concepts cannot be extended from one day to the next. In many places, this led to bottlenecks and frustration in IT departments and among users. Cloud VPNs, on the other hand, are much more flexible and easily scalable. Need more capacity? All you need to do is ask your provider.
How a cloud VPN benefits users
From a user perspective, there are a number of other good reasons to opt for a cloud VPN. We have summarized the six most important advantages for you:
- As a customer, you do not have to invest in your own hardware or in expensive in-house expertise.
- You can realize new VPN projects particularly quickly and with less effort than with classic VPN infrastructure.
- The monthly costs may be lower and can be better calculated than when setting up your own or using a managed classic VPN solution.
- Cloud VPNs are usually easy to use and designed to be user-friendly.
- Often, local VPN clients also protect user’s end devices from network or Internet threats with an integrated personal firewall.
- Most cloud VPNs support all major operating systems used in companies.
Since many more companies are using cloud applications, it can make sense to consider a managed VPN service from the cloud. In reality, however, many potential customers are often still skeptical and continue to prefer classic VPNs. Nevertheless, we are in a process of transformation that is gradually gaining momentum.
What’s the difference between the main types of cloud VPN
Just like classic VPN, there are also a number of different forms of cloud VPN. They include site-to-site connections between company offices or cloud applications and VPN solutions for remote access to the company network or cloud for remote workers.
- Site-to-site connections: According to a Statista survey from 2022, 84 percent of companies in Germany already use cloud applications – and the trend is rising. To protect these services, encrypted tunnels between the company network or remote users and the cloud are particularly suitable. This requires a VPN appliance or a VPN gateway on site. The gateway connects to a virtual endpoint in the cloud, so that an encrypted tunnel can be built in between them. In this way, the company protects all its data traffic between the various nodes. It also no longer needs public IP addresses, which could also be an attack point.
- Remote access connections: Today, there are hardly any business users who do not use cloud applications in one way or another. At the same time, there has been a massive trend towards remote working in recent years, which can no longer be completely reversed. Software VPN clients that also connect to a virtual endpoint in the cloud in order to establish a secure tunnel in between them are available for these remote users. Data can be forwarded from the secure tunnel to the desired cloud service. Such VPN-as-a-Service (VPNaaS) services often also offer additional services such secure user authentication.
In addition, many providers distinguish between a shared platform and a dedicated platform. With shared infrastructure, the service provider supports each customer as an autonomous client on a shared platform. This is much cheaper than a dedicated platform. With a dedicated platform, the service provider sets up its own infrastructure for the customer, which is also physically separate from the environments of other clients. In both models, the service is usually billed monthly or based on usage or the actual number of users.
How cloud VPNs can be flexibly deployed and integrated
Just like classic VPN services, cloud VPNs can be used flexibly and adapted exactly to the requirements of customers. Providers like NCP can integrate their solutions in almost any VPN concepts, including strengthening and optimizing VPN with Zero Trust or SD-WAN. NCP has even put together a universal package that is suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as enterprise customers. It has the following benefits:
- Central management
- Maximum scalability
- Endpoint security
- Cost transparency
- High availability
- Potential cost savings and effective resource management
- Individually customizable for different customer accounts
Would you like to find out more? Please contact us with any questions you may have about cloud VPN.