If you are someone who uses the Internet in the course of your job (i.e. if you are a living, breathing human being), understanding how Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, work can be really helpful. For small businesses, in particular, VPNs are a must-have when it comes to increasing the security of your company data. Whether you have traveling or remote employees, freelance contractors, or just need that extra peace of mind, having a VPN for your business gives you a little extra control over your company’s cybersecurity.
Of course, sometimes employees will run into problems while trying to connect to a VPN. This article will help you troubleshoot such issues.
Why Small Businesses Love VPNs
As confusing as technological terms might get, Virtual Private Networks are pretty self explanatory. VPNs are encrypted connections that allow authorized users to send and receive data as if they were on a regular private network.
A VPN allows you to conduct business as usual on the Internet while hiding your true identity (i.e. IP address) behind a mask of sorts (i.e. a temporary IP address).
Previously used in larger enterprise settings, VPNs are now being used more by smaller businesses. Why? First, because it’s not a difficult security measure to implement and makes a world of difference in protecting company and client data. Second, it allows more oversight and control over a company’s cybersecurity. And third, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to allow people to connect to a company’s intranet compared to other security solutions.
How to Know if You are Connected to a VPN
If you’re having VPN issues, you may be struggling to determine whether you are even connected to begin with. To check if you are connected to a VPN, take these 3 steps:
- Identify your IP address – a quick Google will allow you to do this while your VPN is off.
- Turn your VPN back on and connect to a server.
- Return to your IP address-checking tool of choice and repeat your IP address check. If your real IP address is still identifiable, you are not correctly connected to the VPN (or, it is not providing you with the level of protection that it should).
Next, follow the troubleshooting steps outlined below.
What To Do When VPN is Not Connecting
VPNs offer all businesses privacy, safety, and security; it’s especially important to use one when you are unable to use a private network or when you need to access sensitive company information. It can be frustrating when your VPN is not connecting, but don’t let VPN connection issues lead you to rash decisions that can result in a security breach. Here are some possible solutions to get you back up and running if your VPN is not connecting.
Restart VPN Software
Yes, we’re telling you to turn it off and on again. If you are using a VPN application, fully exit out and then restart it. You should also double check to make sure that your VPN software is up-to-date. If you are using a VPN browser plugin, then fully quit your browser and restart it.
Double Check Your Internet Connection
Next, make sure your internet is actually working. This may seem as simple and silly as restarting your VPN software, but sometimes the solutions are just that obvious. Open up your web browser and try to connect to a website without your VPN to see if your internet connection is working. You can also double check that your VPN server is online through your VPN provider’s website.
Temporarily Disable Your Firewall
If you value security, you probably have firewall software installed. Interestingly enough, the firewall may actually be preventing your computer from connecting to the VPN. Try temporarily disabling your firewall to see if that allows you to use your VPN. If this seems to resolve the issue, create an exception in your firewall to allow the VPN connection.
Still Can’t Connect to Your VPN?
Understanding how VPNs work isn’t always easy. If your VPN is still not connecting, you can reach out to your IT team, like Electric, to troubleshoot your issue. As always, we are here to keep you and your business from sweating the small stuff so you can focus on the work that really matters.