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Boosting Employee Satisfaction and Security: The VPN Solution for Remote Work

In the post-Covid era, where working-from-home (WFH) regimes are now expected by white-collar workers, significant security challenges are raised by employees using company-supplied laptops and desktop computers outside the office.

Whilst it’s relatively easy to ensure that a desktop machine in an employee’s home office can be securely connected to the company’s network, it becomes more complex where laptops are used out in the public arena. For example, an employee might be WFH but decide to stay with a friend for a few days. Who knows if that friend’s Wi-Fi network is secure and hasn’t been hacked by a malicious neighbor?

Worse still is the idea of employees grabbing half an hour to answer their emails from a coffee shop in the local shopping mall. They might think they’re logging on to the mall’s free Wi-Fi, but in reality, it’s a hacker’s hotspot created on his laptop as he sits in the corner of a coffee shop, recording keystrokes from the employee’s password for the company network.

Whilst all these issues are easily addressed by rigorous regulations of what employees can and can’t do with company devices and computers, it doesn’t stop those regulations from being a pain in the neck for the workers concerned. There’s little more frustrating than visiting a friend or relative, or even being in a satellite office environment, and having to use a company-supplied 4G portable router just to check your email when the free Wi-Fi connects you in moments.

With employees now regularly jumping ship to other companies where the fringe benefits are better and the rules less inconvenient, it pays to keep people happy by making their WFH lives as hassle-free as possible. That’s where a company would do well to use a VPN extension on any machines that leave the office. What’s more, if employees are allowed to use their own devices at work, that mandate becomes even more important.

A VPN browser extension can be installed in moments by downloading a file and double-clicking or tapping an icon. From then on, whenever the device in question connects to the internet, it does so via an encrypted server in a location of choice by the user. There are many advantages to this, both for WFH employees and people accessing the web during their own private time.

Benefits for both employees and private individuals

One of the most significant security additions to using a VPN is that it removes the possibility of hackers accessing a person’s laptop or phone when that device is being used on any insecure Wi-Fi network. The encrypted servers that the VPN provider uses will all have advanced methods of detecting whether any malware or ransomware is being attempted to be installed, either by an email attachment or in the background as a bogus system update. At that point, the VPN will disconnect the device from the internet and offer a warning as to why it has done so. The averted potential disaster of a company network being infected with ransomware speaks for itself.

Another issue for employees WFH can be the transfer of large amounts of data – say, if a graphic designer or video editor is working on collaborative projects, they’re going to be guzzling gigabytes of files via their home router. If the employee’s internet service provider (ISP) is having a busy day, perhaps due to some new movie release on Netflix or a major sporting event, it’s going to look at slowing down (known as throttling) the data transfer rate for data-hungry customers.

Our WFH employees could then find their connection slowed to a crawl. Cue angry teenage children and grumbling spouses prevented from accessing their online poker session! But by using a VPN, the encrypted server both anonymizes the user’s connection and also scrambles the geographic location. This means that the ISP can’t identify who the data-gobbler is, nor where they live, so they can’t throttle the connection.

Selective IP throttling

This practice of throttling is more common than you might realize. Certain ISPs, especially those providing data over the 4G cellular network, cleverly throttle particular IP (internet protocol) addresses but leave the rest of the web unthrottled. With the continuing expansion of large language AI models like Chat GPT, Bard, and others, it won’t be long before connections to such popular platforms may be throttled likewise.

An example of this selective throttling might be a person with a 4G connection watching Apple TV. The HD picture suddenly pixelates, and the connection slows to a crawl, that annoying spinning wheel occupying the center of their screen. Thinking that their internet connection is slow, the user then heads over to a website like or any of the free online speed-testing sites. Their expected 25Mbps or whatever seems to be working just fine, so they naturally blame Apple TV’s servers for the slowdown.

But the reality, which almost every ISP denies, is that some ISPs ‘throttle’ Apple TV connections (and many other streaming platforms) but leave all the known speed-testing site IP addresses unaffected. However, by using a VPN, the ISP doesn’t know you’re connected to Apple TV because the connection is after the encrypted ‘middleman’ server; hence the connection can’t be throttled.

So whether you’re a senior manager wanting your WFH employees to get the best experience from home internet connections while retaining company security, or a private home internet user wanting to stay safe online whilst not getting your connection slowed down by third parties, a VPN extension is certainly worth using as a matter of course.

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