The rise of remote work models brought many changes and challenges to our professional lives. In the last two years, all sizes of companies tried to cope with the increasing cybersecurity risks and the majority of them had to abandon legacy security approaches as these became insufficient to secure remote workers. This is mainly because legacy security infrastructure assumes that every connection inside the premises is trusted and everyone can have unlimited access to corporate assets as long as they are inside the premises. This traditional model is no longer valid as employees work outside of companies’ premises. Shortly, this drastic change in our work environments makes Virtual Private Network (VPN) tools necessary and critical for the security and continuity of corporate operations.
Investing in a good VPN is the wisest choice a company can make in this modern era of remote work. Unlike most people think, VPNs are the cheapest secure remote access solution that companies can find in the cybersecurity market. In this article, we will examine VPN split tunneling and its benefits to businesses. Let’s start with defining what is split tunneling and how it works.
What Is Split Tunneling? How It Works
Split tunneling is a robust VPN feature that allows companies to center security for certain areas and assets. In this feature, all network traffic doesn’t go through the client VPN server, and everything isn’t encrypted. While using the VPN split tunneling feature, companies can decide which applications, programs, and websites should have VPN protection and which shouldn’t. Once companies map all the areas that need a secure VPN tunnel, network traffic related to these areas goes through a client VPN tunnel and establishes secure connections. Also, all network traffic generated from these areas is fully encrypted, and unreadable to all unauthorized parties.
Shortly, this feature only secures and encrypts part of the network traffic. This way, the remaining assets, applications, and programs have a direct internet connection and don’t go through the client VPN server, it goes through remote users’ default gateway. Also, while using the split tunneling feature users can simultaneously connect multiple networks and keep their connection to local area network devices. This is really helpful because every time users connect to a network, they don’t need to log in or log out from the VPN server and save their time.
Split tunneling can be conducted in three ways, and these are URL-based, application-based, and inverse split tunneling. Url-based split tunneling allows companies to decide which URL should be fully encrypted and routed to the client VPN server. Application-based split tunneling concentrates on choosing which applications should go through the client VPN server, while the remaining applications’ network traffic routed to the standard network. Inverse split tunneling allows companies to decide which apps and URLs shouldn’t be routed to the client VPN server. While using inverse split tunneling, you must define unwanted apps and URLs, otherwise, everything is automatically routed to the VPN server and completely encrypted.
Two Major Benefits of Split Tunneling
1- Better Network Performance
Using VPN’s split tunneling feature can enable better network performance and internet speed. This is the best benefit of split tunneling because in this era network performance and internet speed are critical aspects of organizational operations. When companies have a slow internet speed and low network performance, employees’ productivity, and performance can be negatively affected, that’s why using the split tunneling feature is a good decision.
As we mentioned above, this feature only routes some part of the traffic to the client VPN server and enables the best network performance. This way, companies can have better network performance during video conferences, calls, or streaming. Lastly, using this feature will enable lighter network traffic in the headquarter servers and data centers. In the end, companies can reduce hardware costs and have the best network performance and enhanced security for selected applications, websites, and programs.
2- Prevents Data Throttling and Latency Issues
Routing some parts of the network traffic not only improves network traffic but also prevents data throttling and latency issues. Split tunneling separates all online traffic to prevent data throttling caused by a large amount of encryption needed. Data throttling is the main factor for latency issues. That’s why preventing bottlenecks in routing traffic affects latency and connectivity speeds.
Also when split tunneling is configured successfully, companies’ internet service providers (ISPs) can’t track how much data companies are using. ISPs usually put restraints on bandwidth usage. That’s why they can’t slow down companies’ internet speed when they exceed predetermined data usage. Because what split tunneling does is to hide traffic from internet service providers due to the inconveniences they cause.
In today’s world, all sizes of companies have some form of remote work model and that’s why they need security solutions that will provide secure remote access to employees. Investing in a good VPN is a great solution to secure remotely working employees. Once VPN is configured to businesses’ infrastructure, they can use VPN’s split tunneling feature, and enable great network performance and enhanced security for the areas that have sensitive data.