VPN Breakdown: Office VPNs (Firewall-Based) vs Anonymous VPNs

VPN Breakdown: Office VPNs (Firewall-Based) vs Anonymous VPNs

One of the most important parts of your network security when it comes to devices connecting through the internet is a virtual private network (VPN).

There are a number of things that can cause risk when it comes to online activities. Two of these are connections to your network from remote employees and when users on your network connect to the outside world.

Anytime a device is using a connection, it can open a portal that leaves data transmissions at risk of being compromised and that leaves a network vulnerable to a hacker.

28% of data breaches are caused by weak remote access security.

A VPN is a way to secure those network connections by adding a layer of encryption to the traffic being transmitted and also controlling network access.

But all VPNs are not the same. Two distinct versions of VPNs are those that are firewall-based, Office VPNs, and those that are Anonymous VPNs, typically provided as an application.

We’ll break down each type below, so you’ll understand their uses and how they can be applied to your cybersecurity needs.

How Does an Anonymous VPN Differ from an Office VPN?

There are several factors that go into the choice between an office VPN and anonymous VPN. These include considerations of cost, reliability, and security.

One of the main differences between the two types of virtual private networks is that an office VPN, which is firewall-based, is controlled locally, where an anonymous VPN is controlled by a third-party provider.

Here is an overview of both types.

Firewall-based Office VPN

With the office VPN, you are getting a combination of a network firewall and virtual private network in one.

Firewalls are designed to protect your internal network by monitoring all traffic coming in and going out. The VPN gains added security from the firewall processes, such as address translation, user authentication, alarms, and monitoring.

Companies can have either a hardware or software firewall. A hardware-based firewall is a piece of equipment connected to their office network. Software firewalls use an installed application instead to provide firewall protection.

The VPN part of the firewall can either be placed first, in front of the firewall. Or it can be done with the firewall as the outer ring of protection.

Anonymous VPN

An anonymous VPN is the one you’re looking at when you see products like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. They’re marketed to both consumers and business users.

This type of VPN makes your IP address anonymous. Instead of a website that’s being visited seeing your router’s IP address, it sees the IP address of the VPN provider’s server that you’re using to connect.

This type of VPN involves downloading software onto a device and turning it on. Once on, it secures connections that device is making.

How Each VPN Protects Traffic

An office VPN is like having a team of sentries stand guard over your network and ensure only approved traffic is coming in and out and that the traffic is secure.

An anonymous VPN is device-based and is more like a shield that a soldier would carry around to protect them. As you connect online it secures that connection.

Control Flexibility

You have much more control of security policies and user authentication when using an office VPN. For example, you have the ability to set up challenge questions or other modes of authentication before allowing a remote user to connect to the VPN.

When you’re using an anonymous VPN through a 3rd party provider, your options are more limited. Most of these have a simple username/password login and the ability to add multi-factor authentication, but you don’t have the same policy controls.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to cost, the anonymous VPN is the most economical. This is because it’s a monthly service that you’re paying for per user, similar to a cloud service subscription.

Firewall-based VPNs are usually an outright purchase when you buy the firewall, although software-based ones can offer significant savings over hardware firewall/VPNs.

Speed and Reliability

Because office VPNs are locally connected to your network to secure remote traffic, they tend to be faster and more reliable than VPNs hosted on a provider’s server.

With an anonymous VPN, you’re relying on the service provider’s server entirely. The speed and reliability can be hampered by things like how far away the server is and how many other users are accessing it.

Ease of Use

Once set up, an office VPN can be just as easy to use as an anonymous VPN. However, to take advantage of the flexibility for customization, there is generally more setup work involved than there is with an anonymous VPN, which can be used “out of the box” pretty quickly.

Which VPN is Right for Your Company’s Needs?

You don’t want to guess when it comes to deciding which VPN to use. Instead, contact C Solutions. We can do a full assessment of your network protection needs and recommend the best VPN to match those.

Schedule a free network assessment today!  Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.