Smart phones, laptops, and a changing work environment that recognizes the value of flexible hours and telecommuting make it possible for many business professionals to work from home or on the road. for some, simply having access to email is enough to work productively. however, others may need to access files and resources on your office network. The best way to ensure proper access and security is to set up a VPN connection to your office network.
what is a vpn?
vpn stands for “virtual private network”. With a VPN connection, which securely connects your remote device to your office network, you can access your office network as if you were in the building. Because the connection is encrypted, you don’t need to worry about others snooping on your connection like you would with a public Wi-Fi connection. think of the connection between your remote computer and your network as a private pipe.
Reading: How to connect to company vpn
requirements to set up an office vpn
Although there are dozens of vpn connection service providers, you will need a suitable vpn-enabled router installed in your office before you can create and connect to a virtual private network.
vpn-enabled routers must have wired and wireless connectivity, support up to 10 connections, and have built-in vpn features.
configure your vpn-enabled router
Your vpn-enabled router will likely come with software, instructions, and a setup wizard to get you set up quickly. We recommend running the wizard and following the steps that are prompted. Setup wizards cover every step, from turning on your device and connecting cables to configuring individual settings.
secure your vpn-enabled router
Next, you’ll want to make sure your vpn-enabled router is as secure as possible. The two most important areas are: • Encryption: Choose the most secure encryption offering your router supports. most likely wpa2 with aes. • password protection: next, change the password of the router. Although the router comes with an easy-to-remember default password, such as “password”, these default passwords are well known and easy to guess. It doesn’t do much good to set up a secure connection just to leave your password open for anyone to guess. the best passwords use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. this does not mean that they have to be notoriously difficult to remember. for example, can you remember a phrase as simple as “22 red shoes”? if so, the following password would have a good mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and a symbol added for good measure: 22redsh0e$. the longer you can make your passwords, the more difficult they will be to crack.
Not everyone in your office will need vpn access, nor should they be granted. therefore you will want to configure your vpn users and permissions carefully. you will do this from the router software. • start by enabling vpn if you haven’t already done so during setup. • enable remote administration. • create your first user account. • download and install the vpn client software on the first user’s computer. • configure vpn client software. • configure the network connection on the user’s computer. in windows go to control panel, network and sharing, create a new connection, vpn. for a mac you will go to system preferences, network, +, vpn. At this point, you will be prompted to enter your office IP address. if your isp has given you a static ip address, go ahead and enter it and test the connection. you must be good to go! if you have a dynamic ip address, this is where it gets complicated.
Troubleshooting Connections: Dynamic vs. Static IP Addresses
Static IP addresses are just that, static. they never change so pointing your vpn to the static ip address is a set it and forget it task. changing dynamic ip addresses therefore, your connection will drop periodically, causing unnecessary worry and an extra step to determine and enter your new ip address.
if your isp provides dynamic ip addresses, you have a few options: • live with it and adjust your vpn settings accordingly. • pay your isp for a static ip address. • request a domain name and dynamic domain name server (dns) pointing to your office. dynamic dns detects changes to your ip address and then updates itself to provide the correct ip address to your vpn connection. however, there may be a delay.
once configured, your authorized users can connect to the vpn, and your entire office network, remotely. imagine going on a business trip and being able to remotely and securely access your network.
Lastly, be sure to update your HR procedures to ensure that any time an employee leaves your company, their vpn access is immediately revoked.
Need help addressing your office network access and security? in new jersey, quikteks can help. contact us to schedule a free network security assessment.