Remote VPN or Cloud VPN – which is The best VPN service (Opens in a new tab) for your business? Some companies offer one or the other, while others – like circumference 81 – our choice of The best VPN for business (Opens in a new tab)Advance both. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) encrypt information transmissions over the Internet, protecting customer data and sensitive messages.
Remote VPN (also known as a remote access VPN) allows you to securely connect individual devices to a private corporate network. A typical example of this is when employees access an office network from computers at home. Cloud VPN (also called Site-to-Site VPN) allows two private networks for companies, such as those of a branch office and the main head office, to connect securely.
Remote VPN vs. Cloud VPN: Features
With Remote VPN, you need to install VPN software on your company’s server. Then, individual users can download an app to their PC or smartphone, and use it to securely access your corporate network. A VPN encrypts email messages sent over the network, as well as documents, and even user requests to scan or print these documents.
In practice, this means that the remote VPN:
- It allows an unlimited number of individual devices such as laptops, mobile phones, scanners, and printers to connect securely
- It encrypts all requests sent and received by these devices, hiding your network traffic from malicious parties
- Temporary: Employees can disconnect their devices from the VPN when they are not working, and reconnect when they return
Alternatively, Cloud VPN can be used to connect two corporate networks. You may have multiple office locations, with employees actively interacting with the customer data that is recorded daily in the CRM. Unlike individuals, these networks are in constant contact. For example, if an office logs a customer into a CRM, that data must be immediately shared with all other offices and encrypted. The sheer volume of data alone requires a permanent infrastructure.
Instead of installing a VPN client on your own server, you can connect your offices to a VPN gateway hosted virtually by your cloud VPN provider. The gateway encrypts and decrypts your traffic as required, and acts as a permanent third-party bridge between your networks.
This means that Cloud VPN:
- It does not require you to install a VPN on your company’s servers
- Allows two or more large corporate networks to communicate securely
- Encrypts all traffic between any number of networks
- More permanent: A cloud provider has a permanent infrastructure, and you pay to use it
Remote VPN vs. Cloud VPN: Performance
A remote VPN encrypts the data locally, and relies on the local computing power of the employees’ machines. With Cloud VPN, a dedicated external gateway handles encryption for all traffic. This makes a cloud VPN faster and more efficient than a remote VPN. However, establishing a permanent VPN connection to each employee’s home network is expensive and impractical.
If all this talk of networking and data packets is confusing, consider this analogy: If a remote VPN is like a car, Cloud VPN is like a train. A car can carry four or five people at a time, while a train can carry thousands of passengers. However, this does not mean that the train is better than the car in every situation. It would be impractical to build a train station in every corridor so that people could travel to work. Also, the train only serves several predetermined destinations, while the cars are flexible and can take you almost anywhere.
Cloud VPN builds a permanent, encrypted connection tunnel between large networks. Remote VPN encrypts the connections of many devices that connect to a single network. One is not necessarily better than the other. Instead, they have different use cases, and should be implemented according to your own requirements.
Remote VPN vs. Cloud VPN: Support
Both remote and cloud VPNs are a complex combination of hardware and software built on top of existing network infrastructure. Depending on the skills and equipment of your in-house IT team, and the complexity of your network, your support needs will vary from basic customer service to dedicated assistance from experienced software engineers.
Because support needs differ, VPN providers like Perimeter 81 offer different levels of support for different plan holders. Perimeter 81’s customer support ranges from chat to email support only during business hours to the Essentials level. The Enterprise tier adds 24/7 phone, chat, and email support, as well as a dedicated customer success manager.
Remote VPN vs. Cloud VPN: Pricing and Plans
Since cloud and remote VPNs have different use cases, your company may require one or use both. See the Perimeter 81 pricing chart as an example of the types of pricing you might see for cloud services and remote VPN services.
|Header cell – column 0||Necessities||excellent||Premium Plus||project|
|start in||$8/user/month + $40/gate||$12/user/month + $40/gate||$16/user/month + $40/gateway||Pricing is available upon request|
|maximum number of applications||2||10||100||Unlimited|
|Minimum number of users||5||10||20||50|
|The maximum bandwidth for each gateway||500 Mbps||1000 Mbps||1000 Mbps||1000 Mbps|
As you can see, the pricing isn’t straightforward, as you can technically set up both Cloud VPN and remote VPN from the lower level if you want to. Cloud VPN only uses gateways, and since gateways cost $40 per month regardless of your bandwidth, it’s best to choose the premium tier (or higher) of the cloud VPN, so that you can access larger gateways.
Remote VPN uses gateways, provides a connection for users, and provides users with access to applications. Their cost will depend on how many users you have and how many apps your employees need to access.
A small business that just has to give secure access to its CRM to a number of workers could be perfectly fine in the basics category. A large company whose workers need access to a full office suite, secure email, and CRM may need to purchase the Enterprise tier to avoid an application cap.
Remote vs Cloud VPN: The Verdict
Although they are similar, and often provided by the same companies, remote and cloud VPNs have different use cases. Cloud VPN works behind the scenes, encrypting communication between networks. It is also more efficient than a remote VPN. However, it cannot be used to connect remote workers to your corporate network, nor can it host applications for those workers to use.
If you need to set up a secure remote working environment for your team, you must implement a remote VPN. Whether you need one or the other (or both) depends on the nature of your network infrastructure and your remote working needs.