Once your business expands, it will cover several areas in the country or even worldwide. The best way to keep the operations running smoothly and efficiently is to utilize a reliable and secure way to share information through the computer networks. Additionally, employees who travel, particularly salespeople require a dependable and secure way to connect to the computer network from remote locations. This is possible with the help of a VPN or virtual private network.

What is VPN?

VPN or virtual private network is basically a group of computers that are connected over a public network or the Internet. A lot of businesses utilized VPNs in order to connect remote datacenters while at the same time allowing individuals to utilize VPN to gain access to network resources when they are not physically on the same LAN (local area network). Additionally, it can also be used as a way to secure and encrypt communications when they are utilizing a public network that cannot be trusted. In simple terms, VPN helps secure the Internet connection of computers in order to ensure that all data being sent or received are encrypted and secured from prying entities.

Why you need a VPN

There are reasons why you have to start utilizing a VPN.

  • It is used to connect in a secure manner to a remote network through the Internet.
  • VPNs are useful for connecting several networks together in a secure manner.
  • When it comes to online privacy, connecting to an encrypted VPN in public or in an untrusted network is considered as a practice in maintaining security.
  • Using VPN is a way to evade regional restrictions on certain websites.

Choosing your VPN protocol

Your initial step when setting up your VPN is choosing a networking protocol. It is best that you are familiar with the popular options.

  • PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is not the most secure VPN option but it is an ideal preliminary point for a first VPN since every OS supports it.
  • L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) and IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) are considered more secure and also widely supported. The only drawback is it is more complicated to set up and prone to some connection issues.
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) can provide a good level of security when logging in on sensitive domains and banking sites. The connection takes place via a web browser and it is easier and reliable to use.
  • OpenVPN is an open-source VPN system that is based on the SSL code. It is secure, free and you will not suffer from connection issues. Additionally, it will not require you to install a client.

Set up VPN with Windows

It is a known fact that Windows is already loaded with a VPN client that supports L2TP/IPsec and PPTP protocols. If Windows 8 is used, simply open “Search charm” and type in VPN. You have to launch the VPN wizard by clicking on “Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection”. You can utilize this client to connect securely to other Windows computers or to VPN servers that support L2TP/IPsec and PPTP protocols. All you have to do is to provide the domain name or IP address of the VPN server you want to connect to. In case you are going to connect to a commercial or corporate VPN, you can get in touch with the administrator to gain the appropriate IP address.

Important tip when setting up PPTP VPN connections in Windows

You have to configure the network router to forward the VPN traffic to the Windows computer you want to access remotely. This can be achieved by logging in to the control panel of the router and setting up the port-forwarding or virtual-server settings to forward port 1723 to the IP address of the computer you want to access. Additionally, both PPTP and VPN pass-through options should be enabled in the firewall settings, but in most cases they are already switched on by default.