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Essential Things to Look for in Mobile Device VPNS in 2014

27, November 2014: Tablets and Smartphones are important tools at the workplace. It is a fact that many network administrators are challenged when it comes to drafting policies that provide access while ensuring security of data. This issue is a serious concern especially in cases when the company isn't the owner of the device.

This makes it imperative for companies to come up with policies that address data security needs. VPNs are a way of encrypting traffic from smartphones or tablets and a company gateway. By encrypting data, snoops are prevented from prying into information in transit on all networks, wireless or wired. It also helps with the prevention of employees and other third parties from accessing areas of the corporate network where they are not allowed to.

How to choose a VPN

When choosing a VPN, you should look for 4 must-haves.

1. Ability to provide support across all mediums.

VPNs must be able to encrypt communication from any connection an individual uses to gain access to the company network including mobile hotspots, cellular connections or public WiFi. Further, it should provide roaming that is seamless to ensure that users won’t have to re-establish connections or make adjustments to settings when changing from one connection to another.

2. Compatible with multiple operating systems

Networks have less control over operating systems being used by third parties and employees with the continued growth of BYOD, innovations with devices and software options. Employees are allowed to bring a number of personal devices to the office as long as they agree to abide by company policy. Some companies have no restrictions on devices.

VPNs must support most operating systems like Android, Windows, and Apple options as well as smaller platforms.

3. Flexible Policy

Network Administrators have to make backend setting adjustments to keep VPN connections open for certain time periods based on the user device. For example, if a mobile goes idle more frequently than a laptop, it needs to be decided whether to disconnect from a VPN to avoid infiltration by 3rd parties. An administrator must be flexible regarding policy to come up with options that are suitable to corporate requirements.

4. Inter-operable with current infrastructure

VPNs must be part of a dependable remote access infrastructure to allow for integration of new devices in a seamless manner. It must be determined how a VPN will work from inside the company’s current infrastructure.

A VPN is not the be all and end all of network security or data security. However, when a VPN is used together with effective management of mobile devices, adequate access control and management of application, and educating employees on IT/security concerns, risks from mobile devices can be truly reduced.

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