VPN and two-factor authentication

Today one of the main needs of companies is to have fast and secure corporate networks available, which allow people to work in teams and to carry out any type of operation even remotely and in smart working. But from the point of view of IT security, every corporate network is first and foremost a sensitive target.

For this reason, the use of VPN networks with access via two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly popular. It is a solution that we have been working with for some time and which represents an important qualitative leap in company IT security.

What does VPN mean and why is this a good choice for businesses?

A corporate network is usually protected by a firewall, a real filter that serves to isolate the company’s internal network from the rest of the web. The firewall encrypts the data and hides the true IP address of the company servers, preventing them from being located from the outside. This significantly raises the company’s security and basically means: “Whoever is inside is in and whoever is outside is out”.

For this reason, when we access the company network from abroad, we need a connection that is equally protected. And that’s exactly why you need a VPN (Virtual Private Network). How does a VPN work?

A VPN creates a private point-to-point connection, i.e. directly from the remote computer to the corporate network. This connection is protected and inaccessible from the outside, it allows you to access beyond the firewall protection threshold and therefore to work wherever you are, just as you would while remaining in the company.

But unfortunately, this threshold of protection alone is not enough. In fact, it is sufficient for the credentials of an email account to be stolen, or for an employee to work from home via an infected computer, for example, and the bad guys can easily steal the information useful for accessing even the safest corporate VPN.

This is where the importance of two-factor authentication comes into play

Having two-factor authentication (2AF) means that in addition to the password, you must also provide the system with another parameter in order to access your account. This can be of three types:

Something the user knows, such as a password, a pin, or the answer to a secret question.

Something that the user has, as in the case of codes sent via SMS or App to a smartphone.

Something that the user is, as in the case of access via biometric parameters.

Authentication can be said to be two-factor only if two different types of methods are used. The most common method today is to send access keys via text message or app to the smartphone to the user who is logging in. This is the method that, for example, all banks have now adopted for online transactions. So the vast majority of us are already used to operating with this logic.

In practice, every time a remote connection is activated, the system asks the user for confirmation via mobile phone, in order to confirm his identity.

In conclusion

In this way VPN network and two-factor authentication work in synergy, representing an important form of protection capable of making the work of the whole company increasingly solid and flexible and at the same time protecting against serious damage.

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