NordLayer - Network Security

VPN Service Provider vs. Self-Hosted VPN: which one to choose?


By NordLayer
8 Mar 2022
5 min read
VPN service provider vs self-hosted VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is commonly used to secure an online presence. First developed as an instrument to communicate and protect data within a company environment, today, organizations consider virtual private networks a cornerstone of digital network security. Companies have to choose between different infrastructures of VPN solutions - self-hosted or VPN from service providers - and there’s an ongoing question of which is better?

What is a Hosted VPN solution?

Evolving technological infrastructure adapts cloud-based environments that are easier to deploy and manage from any location—enabling secured remote workforces. Naturally, the requirement for compatibility with cloud infrastructure increased for VPNs. Consequently, the configuration of Cloud VPN or VPN-as-a-Service (VPNaaS) emerged. 

More commonly known as hosted VPN, the design of VPNaaS development adapts to cloud environments to seamlessly integrate with the existing company infrastructure for best performance. 

Hosted VPN is a flexible solution from a service provider that supports companies enable hybrid working, remote access, connecting multiple devices and users to the network. 

Hosted VPN caters to the increased load of remote access requests to organizational resources—from many endpoints. It ensures encrypted traffic tunnels even for devices on open public networks. Hosted VPN also provides comprehensive security for devices accessing the company network.

How does a Hosted VPN work?

Remote employees connect to a VPN server, which establishes a secure connection to company LAN. It helps day-to-day operations like file sharing and accessing or point-to-point control to be undertaken in a protected environment. 

Users with a running hosted VPN provider application can securely access cloud-based applications and resources via a VPN tunnel—whether connecting from company HQ or home network

Teams connect to provider-hosted a VPN solution using a Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication tools like Azure AD, Google Workspace, Okta, and OneLogin to establish a secure tunnel connection through IPSec/OpenVPN TCP/OpenVPN UDP protocols. 

Once a communication protocol is selected, the established secure-key connection encrypts data transfers between networks and off-site access infrastructures to ensure secure communication throughout the session. Depending on which encryption protocols the server runs, hosted VPN may suffer less latency than a traditional VPN.

Hosted VPN capabilities help a company simulate physical router setup features by establishing a connection between two virtual networks and enforcing user-dedicated security policies.

VPN service provider vs self-hosted VPN

Difference between a Service-Provider VPN and a Self-Hosted VPN

Choosing a provider-hosted VPN or a self-hosted VPN is a matter of preference. While both provide end-to-end encryption outside the protected network, some VPN features vary in comparison.

Seamless deployment

Self-hosted VPNs are mostly hardware-based solutions that need on-premise deployment and relevant maintenance that might be a challenge for your admins. Meanwhile, hosted VPN solutions from providers are cloud-based services that are manageable from a distance. They don’t require physical infrastructure, thus eliminating the demand for a permanent location or staff resource.

Complete anonymity

A self-hosted virtual private network on company-owned hardware gives complete configuration control but eliminates the element of privacy. VPN providers can utilize several ways of ensuring anonymity while connected to a private gateway. 

A provider can set security policies that restrict traffic back to the access point by launching a ‘no-logs’ rule. Fixed IPs increase privacy and help segment company traffic from often congested shared gateways.

Coverage for skilled staff

Service-provider VPNs help save time, staff, and financial resources — useful for smaller-scale companies that can’t necessarily afford. Knowledge gaps when managing a self-hosted aren’t an issue if technical support moves over to the service provider team.

Service providers can offer simple and easy scaling according to company needs. It doesn’t require specific experience from IT teams, which is crucial for traditional VPNs, allowing greater control over VPN configurations and anonymity levels.

Sustainable scaling

Traditional VPN solutions don’t provide the flexibility for better service quality or ad-hoc scalability. Solely by company-controlled VPN means a commitment to hardware and software implementations that must sync with precise evaluation and calculation, foreseeing business growth and needs in the future.

VPN solutions from service providers have it in its name — VPN-as-a-Service adapts to company needs. It adheres to scaling up and down quickly as VPN’s deployment is cloud-based, eliminating the burden of gadgets stacked up in storage.

Which is better for your business? 

Scaling companies face challenges in implementing hybrid work policies. Remote working means there is a necessity to enforce additional network security layers in order to support increased remote access points and devices connecting from unprotected networks. 

Non-stationary workforces require secure access to the corporate network. Usually, companies establish encrypted tunnels via hosted VPN from a provider to protect enterprise data storage. Another security measure that goes together with BYOD policies is allowlisting IP addresses on different devices that won’t compromise business performance. 

A combination of security measures results in dedicated VPN server hosting, maintenance, and monitoring resources. The most straightforward way to enable remote workforce is to connect them with cloud-based resources and applications.

If your company needs an adaptive, effective, and easily compatible VPN solution to ensure secure remote employee connectivity to company resources, service-provider VPN is the most logical solution. Deployment of such VPN configuration is suitable for various and different company infrastructure settlements. 

Hence, a VPN from a service provider is a care-free and quick solution that adapts to dynamic company nature and staff-skill coverage. A hosted VPN solution is available on any user device, and it protects any network they are connected to perform assigned roles.

How can NordLayer help?

NordLayer’s remote access solution provides affordable and convenient cloud architecture with threat-preventive capabilities. Deployment of a cloud-hosted service to the company network takes a few minutes. It is a simplified route to enabling secure access to enterprise LANs from any device.

Every aspect covering security is built up layer by layer with unauthorized users prevention, authentication and permissions controls, easy to use and deploy design, a wide range of shared & private server selection. 

Remote access VPN creates an encrypted tunnel for mobile workforces to safeguard network vulnerabilities from security risks. Encrypted VPN tunnel, secure remote access features, and hosted VPN ensure company network security and transition towards a modern company model. NordLayer enables Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) asset protection with flexible and cost-effective plans they can choose.

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