By Crystal Torres – Technical Support Specialist
Let’s say you have a server in your office where you store your word documents, spreadsheets, presentation and pictures from the last office potluck party. When you are inside your office you can easily connect to this server to get the last week’s vendor invoices, the task list for that important project and so on.
However, with remote working, you are no more sitting inside the office network. You are working from home – but you might still need to connect to that server. It should simply connect, right? But, unfortunately your home internet connection cannot reach that server in your office because usually it is behind the internet router (and firewall).
Enter VPN and its distant cousin remote desktop protocol. VPN does a bit of magic on the network and connects your home computer to the office network – and bingo, now you can access of those files that you needed. It makes your home computer act as if it is in the office network. It does this by – connecting to the public VPN server which is installed on your network.
See the solid red line in the picture for how you access the File Server from home vis-à-vis the dotted red line about how you access it when you are inside office. When you are connecting to your Office 365 email, however you don’t need your VPN anymore. See the solid green line in the picture for how you access your emails from home vis-à-vis the dotted green line about how you access it when you are inside office.
Why should you definitely use a VPN
It allows to protect your file-server while letting legitimate users like you to access it.
When NOT to use a VPN
If you just want to access your email from home. You don’t need VPN. You can connect to your email without VPN. You can still use VPN to collect your email but you will be clogging up costly resources if you do that.
If you want to use some portal or online software which you are accessing via browser – VPN is not required.
If you are in office, do not use VPN. You will be clogging up valuable resources without any additional benefits in safety.