Whether in the home office or on the road: A virtual private network (VPN) should be used instead of the open internet to access the corporate network.

But how does it work in practice? Read important tips on how to set it up and use it.

Flexible working has consequences for data protection

Following the end of the home office obligation, many employees have already returned to their previous office. In many cases, however, there is still the option of working in a home office for a time. At the same time, more on-site appointments are taking place again. As a result, mobile work is on the rise again. However, the flexible working environment has consequences for the protection of personal data. The data risks in the office, in the home office and on the road can be very different. Data protection measures should take into account the respective need for protection and thus also the place of work. But there is one thing that out-of-office work locations have in common: If access to the corporate network, to company applications or to data in the corporate cloud is required, a service for setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) comes into play.

Secure network access with virtual private networks

If you use VPN in the home office or for mobile work, the first thing to do is to use the right VPN service approved by the company. Many offers for free VPN services are circulating on the Internet. But VPN can protect against eavesdropping by third parties on the connection to the company, but not against conceivable access by the VPN provider itself. It is therefore crucial to use a trusted, secure VPN service. Your employer makes the selection after checking the VPN service. Therefore, you yourself as a user should not use any VPN service other than the one that has been approved. If you do not know which one it is, ask the office responsible in the company about it.

VPN in the home office

If you work in a home office and want to access the company network, you usually use the VPN service via your desktop PC or notebook. Depending on the VPN service, a VPN client is set up once on the end device, and the VPN service is configured in the browser or Internet router, or in the operating system settings. Ask your IT administration for the relevant instructions. It is important that you also use the VPN that has been set up. To do this, you must activate the VPN connection accordingly. Otherwise, you will have the prerequisites for VPN, but you will still be using the open Internet.

VPN on the road

Even outside the home office, for example on the way from the home office to your office in the company, it may be necessary to access the company network or company cloud services with your mobile device. For this purpose, your smartphone or tablet should be set up accordingly. Depending on the VPN service, there is a special VPN app for this, which you then have to start first in each case if you want to log in to company systems.