One mobile security tool growing in popularity is the mobile virtual private network (VPN). In this guest post, Parker Hansen discusses the benefits and disadvantages of that technology.
In VPN, the word private does not necessarily mean secure or that high-privacy protection is provided by these networks. A mobile VPN is capable of utilizing the security features provided by underlying resources. The primary purpose of a mobile VPN is to enable the seamless transfer of communication or data over different types of networks, technologies and systems.
As an example of how a mobile VPN functions, an executive may use a desktop computer at his office with a broadband connection. He then switches to his smartphone that needs a Wi-Fi hotspot, and then he reaches his meeting location where he uses his laptop. The meeting location may use a local area network that combines multiple systems that use the same wireless connection or a dedicated line to communicate.
When the executive is en route to his meeting location, he is changing networks and technologies. Therefore, his IP address will most likely be changing. This will often cause a disruption to his communication. A mobile VPN creates a seamless transfer from one form of communication to another. This is accomplished by using a logical IP address instead of a physical IP address. A logical IP address follows the executive from one physical network, device or IP to another. This type of seamless transfer of communication would also work if the executive was using voice over internet protocol.
Pro – The costs of operating a VPN within an organization are much less that other types of configurations that are available.
Con – Depending on the VPN provider that you select, reliability can become a serious issue. It is critical to find a provider that can ensure minimal downtime, especially if the VPN uses the Internet.
VPN design and security
Pro – Compared to other remote forms of communication, VPNs provide a level of secure communication that is much higher.
Con – A VPN typically has a complex security and design implementation. This means staff must understand the various types of security issues that can happen as a result of using a VPN. Knowing the best type of VPN configuration is also essential.
VPNs and mobile workers
Pro – VPNs enable remote workers to avoid sacrificing security when they check in at the office. VPNs also provide additional security to business partners when they communicate over a connection that is secure.
Con – Security issues can be caused when mobile devices are used to initiate connectivity to the VPN. This is especially true if a wireless connection is being used. This often requires an additional solution to tighten up the security for people using a mobile device to log on to the VPN.
There’s no doubt that VPNs provide a viable solution for users to communicate securely. As long as you have a dependable provider working with you to make sure that no major issues arise, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
About the author: Parker Hansen is a web developer and VoIP enthusiast. He enjoys freelance writing and designing logos in his free time.