Virtual private networks (VPNs) should be a key component of your cybersecurity infrastructure. Their purpose is to mask the IP addresses of the mobile devices connected to your network, effectively making the data they send and receive unreadable to anyone outside your organization. What’s more, VPNs maintain this security even when your devices are connected to public networks. Beyond those reasons, here are two growing trends that should prompt healthcare organizations to treat this service as a must-have for their cyber defense.
VPNs Benefit Remote Workers
Although remote work was already catching on before COVID, the pandemic accelerated its adoption in the healthcare industry. Now, organizations are witnessing the true rewards that digital employees can bring to the table, and encouraging more teams to leverage them.
The only caveat: with more people accessing sensitive information from their homes or out in the community, the greater the need for data encryption. That’s why VPNs are essential for the protection they offer against bad actors attempting to eavesdrop on that data sharing. Along with leveraging this technology, notes one Forbes contributor, it’s also important to “[e]valuate each process involving the access or transfer of confidential information.”
VPNs and BYOD
Remote work begs the question: should you purchase equipment for your team members, or allow them to bring their own devices to the job? When it comes to the latter of these, the concept of BYOD may seem appealing due to its convenience, but may pose unnecessary risk to your cyber protection. Hardware and devices that an organization furnishes are easier to monitor and set limits on what information users can access, thereby avoiding common mistakes that can lead to a data breach. However, we understand that some may still prefer to leverage BYOD, and requiring users to install a VPN will help mitigate this risk.
Regardless of who provides the equipment, we strongly encourage that all work-related devices: 1) are registered with your IT department; 2) are updated periodically with the latest firmware and software; and 3) have encryption tools for apps or programs that team members will be using to access and share your organization’s data.
Threats That VPNs Won’t Stop
It’s important to note that while VPNs offer data encryption against eavesdropping and brute force attacks, they don’t protect against infected files, inappropriate websites, and other malicious code that users may intentionally or inadvertently click on. That’s why this service must be viewed as one piece in a powerful framework of cyber defense. Thinking otherwise can put your organization at risk for data loss or fines for noncompliance.
Do you have questions about how to implement your own virtual private network? We want to hear them! Contact us today to tell us more about the ways you’d like to update your cybersecurity.