Three Ways To Tell if Your VPN is Smart – And You WANT a SmartVPN®
By Ira Stern, Senior Director of Solutions Engineering, Mobolize
We live in a time where a Smart Phone is a normal part of our everyday ensemble, just as we carry wallets, purses or wear shoes. With access to smart phones, the increase of data usage has seen a significant growth, as has the amount of data a user consumes when connected to Wi-Fi networks. Globally, the average person spends close to 60% of their time connected to a Wi-Fi network.
How is that possible? Besides connecting to our home Wi-Fi networks, most users connect to their corporate Wi-Fi networks. Throughout the day, while we stop for lunch, coffee, travel, or even settle into a hotel to end a long day of work, we almost instinctively connect to Wi-Fi. If we don’t manually look for a Wi-Fi connection, our phones most likely recommend or choose open Wi-Fi connections.
With increased internet use, the issue of online privacy has grown quickly. Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which protect your web traffic from hackers, phishing schemes and other opportunistic crimes, have received lots of attention as well. Before you select a VPN to hide your online surfing from prying eyes, know that not all mobile VPNs are created equal.
VPNs can offer a wide option of potential privacy and security benefits. They work by putting another server between websites and your device and funnel all your traffic through an encrypted, secure tunnel. This makes it more difficult for a third party to monitor your browsing and access your data. While funneling all traffic through a mobile VPN seems like a surefire way to secure your data, in actuality, approximately 70% of todays traffic is already secure because it is HTTPS traffic.
This turns into frustration with traditional VPNs for several reasons. A typical VPN resides on the Smart Phone device as an application. It stays on until manually switched off by the end user. But if an end user is concerned about security and privacy, why would they turn it off? This leads to several frustration points
- Battery drain. If the VPN is on all the time and processing all the traffic, that’s taking up a lot of the device’s processing efforts as it continues to look at not only unsecure traffic, but also secure traffic.
- Breaking Apps. Have you ever used a secure application (Netflix, Hulu, a banking app) that worked fine until you turned on the traditional VPN. Now these sites will not accept your request saying something along the lines of “Network Error.” That’s called an app break. These types of applications are already secure, and secure applications don’t react well to being rerouted to any other destination than to the one they were destined, thus the “break.” Netflix or your banking app won’t let you on.
- Confusion. When end users turn off their VPN to be able to use these applications, what happens? Hopefully nothing, but now that they are connected to an unsecure Wi-Fi network, they are vulnerable to and have made it extremely easy for a hacker to access all their personal data, passwords, and yes, even corporate information, since most of us use our devices for both personal and business. Worse, once the end user is done with accessing the apps that didn’t work with the VPN on, it’s easy to forget to turn the VPN back on again, leaving themselves vulnerable over and over.
Enter an easy to use and cost-effective solution. MOBOLIZE | Secure is a SmartVPN® that delivers the most efficient solution for mobile device security, while avoiding the three frustrations. This SmartVPN® minimizes battery impact, doesn’t break applications and best of all, turns itself on and off without user intervention.
Because the SmartVPN® knows when the end user is on Wi-Fi and when they are not, the application turns itself on when connected and off when users disconnect from Wi-Fi. This allows the end user to maintain their phone’s battery longer throughout the day. In addition, because the application is doing this by itself, the end user no longer has to worry about turning off the VPN and forgetting to turn it back on. No confusion.
Finally, SmartVPN® only secures what needs to be secured. Already secured traffic passes through without rerouting or impacting the end user’s experience. No breaking apps.
All of this happens with no interaction from the end user, so they can worry about more pressing matters of the moment, like allowing your kids to securely watch their favorite cartoons on Netflix.
Ask your phone company to get smart by providing SmartVPN® for customers. You WANT a SmartVPN®.