Why a VPN is important when working remotely

Why WFH employees should use a remote access VPN

In 2023, roughly 40% of workers in the US worked(new window) remotely or on hybrid schedules (some days in the office, some days at home). This arrangement offers benefits to employees and employers, but it also introduces new cybersecurity vulnerabilities, like how work-from-home (WFH) employees can safely access their organization’s network. Fortunately, this can be easily solved with a remote access VPN. 

In this article, we look at what a remote access VPN is, why your WFH and other remote staff should use one, and how Proton VPN for Business(new window)’s modern, flexible remote access VPN solution with dedicated IP addresses(new window) greatly improves on the traditional model.

What is a remote access VPN?

These days, the term virtual private network (VPN) usually refers to consumer-focused VPN services such as Proton VPN, where you (and potentially hundreds of other customers) connect to a VPN server that could be located almost anywhere in the world.

The connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted, so your internet service provider (ISP) can’t see your online activity, and the websites you visit only see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address. 

Learn more about how (consumer) VPNs work(new window)

This setup is great for protecting your privacy online (and as a side benefit, allows you to stream content from around the world), but it’s not what VPNs were originally developed for.

VPNs were developed to allow remote workers, including WFH employees, to securely access corporate local intranets over the internet as if they were physically connected to their company’s local area network (LAN) by Ethernet cable or WiFi. 

The connection between their device and the company gateway server is encrypted, allowing them to securely access local company resources, such as its servers, databases, and printers, as if they were actually at a company office. 

How corporate intranets work

This setup is often called a remote access VPN, and many businesses continue to use it to this day. 

Why a VPN is important when working remotely

A remote access VPN offers the following advantages:

Secure access to your businesses’ local resources

The primary reason remote access VPNs exist is to allow employees who work from home (whether full-time or on a hybrid schedule), are on business trips, or are otherwise away from the office, to access the company resources they need as though they were physically at the office. 

The connection between your business’s gateway server and your employees’ devices is encrypted (using a VPN protocol(new window) such as OpenVPN(new window) or WireGuard(new window)), so no one else can access sensitive company data as it travels through the VPN tunnel. This includes your company’s internet service provider(new window) (ISP), untrustworthy public WiFi(new window) hosts, and potentially any dishonest competitors.

Authorized access only 

Only employees running the VPN software on their devices using the correct login details can access your company’s local resources. 

It’s worth noting, though, that under the traditional model, once an employee authenticates with the gateway server, they usually have full access to all connected company resources (as they would if they were physically connected to the office LAN).  

Proton VPN for Business and dedicated IP addresses

While still useful, advances in technology and the ongoing evolution of business practices (most notably an increased reliance on third-party SaaS services) means that traditional remote access VPN setups lack the flexibility that most businesses require these days.

Proton VPN for Business offers a modern take on the traditional remote access VPN. It combines the functionality of a traditional corporate VPN setup while providing flexible segmented access to your company’s valuable resources, including physical servers, associated intranets, and online SaaS services. 

In addition to protecting your staff with all the benefits of our regular consumer-focused VPN service(new window), Proton VPN for Business also lets you lease dedicated IP addresses from us. 

How Proton VPN dedicated gateways work

These offer the following advantages:

All the advantages of a traditional remote access VPN

By firewalling a company gateway server to allow only dedicated IP addresses that belong to your company, you can effectively emulate a traditional remote access VPN setup. WFH and other remote employees can securely access company resources connected to the business LAN as if they were sitting at a desk in a company office.

Access to online SaaS resources

In a modern business context, your company resources often include more than just the software installed on your business’s servers. Most businesses now use software as a service(new window) (SaaS) resources that are hosted by third-party providers and made available over the internet via a subscription model. 

Common SaaS tools include Slack, Zoom, Trello, Mailchimp, WordPress, Confluence, and hundreds of other cloud storage services, online communication and collaboration platforms, CRMs, HR management tools, and more. These services all provide scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions to challenges that once required hosting expensive software on your own servers (together with the need to hire dedicated teams of staff to set up and service these).

With dedicated IP addresses from Proton VPN for Business, you can provide both remote and office workers the same secure access to these valuable online resources as traditional remote access VPNs provide to local company-owned resources. 

Segmented access

With a traditional remote access VPN, staff members  usually have free access to all resources on the company intranet once they sign in to the gateway server. With dedicated IP addresses, you can provide granular, segmented access to both local and SaaS resources. In other words, you can restrict access to resources based on dedicated IP addresses that only certain staff members can access.

For example, you might run a company that leases three dedicated IP addresses from Proton VPN. All staff members can use server #1 to access your company intranet. Most staff members can use server #2 to access common SaaS resources used across the company. But only some staff members can use server #3, which provides access to a local server hosting staff management tools and other sensitive resources.  

Learn more about how dedicated IP addresses can help your business(new window)

Final thoughts: Proton VPN provides a modern remote access VPN solution

Traditional remote access VPN setups made sense in a world where most businesses hosted software locally on servers directly under their control, allowing WFH employees to access these resources as if they were at a company office. 

But this model is no longer viable (or desirable) for many of today’s businesses, which benefit from the flexibility and scalability of using SaaS services that they don’t need to host themselves. 

With Proton VPN for Business, you can provide your remote workers with all the benefits of a traditional remote access VPN setup but with much more fine-grained control over who can access what. We let all your employees securely access all your organization’s resources, including SaaS services, no matter where they are.

Protect your privacy and security online
Get Proton VPN free

Related articles

Update July 18, 2024: This article has been updated to feature the latest audit of our no-logs policy by Securitum, which was concluded on July 12, 2024. Links to all our no-logs policy audits are included. We’re pleased to announce that Proton VPN
VPN on mobile device
Growing public awareness about the threat posed to our fundamental right to privacy by online trackers has fueled a surge in VPN adoption, a trend that has been boosted thanks to people spending more time online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Althoug
Tor over VPN
  • Privacy deep dives
Tor is a powerful privacy tool, but you may not want to use Tor all by itself. Learn why you may want to connect to Tor over a VPN. When you connect to the Internet, especially if you’re using public WiFi, there’s a good chance people are watching y
Smart TV privacy
Smart TVs are essentially televisions that can watch you. Their surge in popularity, along with smart speakers, means corporations (and anyone that can hack these devices) have another window through which they can view your private activity. The dat
Expats should use a VPN
Living abroad can be an adventure, but it also presents unique online privacy obstacles. A VPN can help expats stay in touch with their family and avoid Internet censorship. In the age of the “digital nomad” more and more people are moving abroad. L
The internet is full of information, but some of it is inappropriate, especially for kids and sensitive adults. SafeSearch can help filter out this content to make browsing safer and improve your children’s privacy online. This article explains how