In this article, we'll cover:
Cloud VPN: What is it & Why is it Essential to Your Business
With remote working on the rise and more and more companies using the cloud to store and share data, cloud VPNs are a popular way to support remote workers, secure cloud servers, and improve access to the data stored on such servers.
Many businesses using traditional hardware VPNs are now shifting to the cloud to improve access and security. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cloud VPNs and why your business should make a shift to the cloud.
What is a Cloud VPN?
A cloud VPN is a type of virtual private network (VPN) designed to be used via the cloud. It’s sometimes known as a hosted VPN or virtual private network as a service (VPNaaS).
A cloud VPN allows users secure access to a company’s cloud resources, files, data or applications, such as via a website or an app. Companies often use VPNs so mobile or remote workers can access the information or applications they need without being in the office or having an on-premises IP address.
A cloud VPN differs from regular VPNs because, unlike these, it doesn’t require a VPN infrastructure or program on the user’s computer or mobile device. This makes cloud VPNs much more flexible and quicker to set up than traditional VPNs.
How Does Cloud VPN Work?
A cloud VPN is a secure connection between users in your workforce and your virtual private cloud (VPC). Traffic and information that travels between the two is encrypted by a VPN gateway at one end and decrypted by another VPN gateway at the other. A cloud VPN offers the following features:
- It provides extra security to the cloud – A high availability cloud VPN ensures that users are connected via an Internet Protocol security (IPsec) VPN connection rather than a public internet connection. This adds an additional layer of network security and reduces network latency.
- It supports data encryption – The reason cloud VPNs are so secure is that they encrypt and decrypt data at both ends of the connection. At each end of the VPN is a VPN gateway connected by a secure cloud VPN tunnel. Data is encrypted by the first gateway and decrypted by the second, meaning that even if the VPN tunnel is compromised, the data within is fully encrypted.
- It enables remote access – Employees who use a cloud VPN can install the software on their computer or mobile device or even access their company’s VPC via their internet browser. This can be done anywhere and doesn’t require connectivity to the company’s on-premises network like traditional VPNs do.
Types of Cloud VPN
There are two main types of cloud VPN- client cloud and network cloud. These differ based on their use cases. A client cloud VPN is a remote access VPN that lets remote workers connect to their company’s VPC from anywhere.
A network cloud VPN is used for securing traffic between the company’s network or networks and the cloud network.
Client Cloud VPN (Remote Access)
A client cloud VPN allows IP addresses from outside of a business’s internet network to connect to the corporate network and access information or applications on the cloud VPN server from any location while retaining secure access.
Network Cloud VPN (Site-to-Site Access)
A network cloud VPN, sometimes known as a site-to-site VPN, secures traffic between the on-premises network or networks and the cloud. It does so by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between the two. This differs from a remote access VPN as it usually requires an on-site VPN appliance connected to the on-premises network.
Benefits Of Cloud VPN
Convenient Direct Access
Traditional VPNs increase network latency (delays and lags) for cloud-based resources. This is because traditional VPNs route all traffic through the on-premises network. A cloud VPN, however, provides secure and direct remote access and connectivity to the company’s secure cloud server.
Globally and Widely Accessible
Traditional VPNs require on-premises hardware, so they can only be deployed within the on-premises networks. A cloud-hosted VPN is globally accessible, making it ideal for companies with a dispersed workforce.
High-Quality User Authentication and Security
Cloud VPN services provide user authentication for cloud-based applications and resources, as well as an encrypted, secure cloud connection between users and the VPC. If your company prioritises secure communications and data sharing, a cloud VPN will help ensure this.
Flexible and Scalable
Traditional VPNs are often difficult to set up, configure, and scale. They usually have a fixed number of connections or bandwidth and struggle to adapt to changing network architectures or new requirements.
Like any cloud solution, a cloud VPN is managed by the cloud service provider who can adjust the VPN according to a company’s needs, offering increased flexibility and scalability.
A cloud VPN solution allows companies to outsource the daily running of their VPN and cloud platform. This means that maintenance, updates, and scaling can all be done by an external company with relative ease and often at a lower cost than doing so in-house.
Cloud VPN Best Practices
Consider Strong Passwords and Keys
Using strong passwords and keys that are not stored in the company’s VPC offers an additional way to safeguard the data travelling through its cloud VPN tunnel and the associated cloud infrastructure.
Apply Firewall Rules In Gateways
By applying firewall rules at each VPN gateway, a company can control how much traffic and data is travelling across cloud VPN tunnels and add an extra layer of cloud security at each end.
Deploy Dynamic Routing Configurations
Cloud VPN gateways that enable dynamic routing use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) for additional security and confidentiality.
Best Cloud VPN Providers
- Perimeter 81 has robust security, lots of features, and available VPN servers, is easy to scale, and is one of the fastest and easiest to use cloud VPN solutions on the market.
- NordVPN has cheaper pricing than Perimeter 81 and has many VPN servers ready to choose from, tight security measures, and secure double-data encryption. Reviewers also felt it fitted their business needs better than the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Service (AWS) PrivateLink.
- TorGuard is a well-priced cloud VPN solution with a huge number of servers and great customer service.
- ExpressVPN is pricier than some of the VPN server providers on this list but is one of the best in the market. With over 3000 servers and compatibility with various operating systems from Microsoft to Linux and Android, ExpressVPN is a top-grade, secure cloud VPN provider.
How Does RingCentral Help with Your Cloud VPN?
RingCentral is compatible with a range of cloud VPN solutions, and we can ensure that your communications are flexible, mobile, and secure across your company. By using a full cloud approach to security and firewalls, the security of your data and platforms can be managed and monitored in one place without the need to set up an additional VPN tunnel for different devices or services.
With cost-effective plans and pricing, RingCentral helps over 350,000 businesses to integrate their communications securely in the cloud.
Originally published Oct 13, 2021