VPNs and cloud computing are both great solutions to any hurdles remote work might present. They’re both great technologies for sharing data and upping security levels. However, both are very different, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Read on to dive into what they are, how they might play out when applied to your business, and if there’s a winner in the VPN vs cloud computing contest.

Firstly, what is a VPN?

VPN vs cloud computing

Standing for Virtual Private Network, they were created as a way for multiple business devices and networks to be tied together securely so they could be accessed from home, as though you were in the office.

VPNs also double up as a way for a device to ‘pretend’ it’s in a different location; log your device into a VPN with its location set elsewhere and as far as the internet is concerned, that’s your location. Ideal if you’re in say, China and want to access your Gmail.

VPNs really come into their own when functioning as an extra layer of security. Employees can remotely access work files with little worry about how secure the WiFi connection is. This is great for satisfying a BYOD (bring your own device) policy or working on public WiFi.

VPN vs cloud computing: how they match up

VPN vs cloud computing

Despite cloud computing’s various workarounds, VPNs are certainly more secure. So depending on your industry it may be the only way to stick within compliance regulations. For some businesses that may end the VPN vs cloud computing debate immediately. Also unlike with cloud computing, you’re 100% in charge of your own data and aren’t tied to any third party’s rules, nor at the mercy of any sudden terms of service changes. This freedom also gives you the option to customise and optimise any aspect you wish. Plus, there’s always the possibility a cloud provider may go under and take your data with them.

On the other hand, cloud computing is far more scalable and can be set up more easily. Setting up a VPN takes time, energy and manpower when integrated with a business’s current network. Cloud computing is also faster. Or rather a VPN is typically slower because all the traffic is forced down a single encrypted connection. One other small point, should you choose Microsoft Azure for your Cloud needs, you’ll be able to integrate with Microsoft 365’s range of cloud apps – great for streamlined remote collaboration.

The winner of the VPN vs cloud computing contest will vary depending on your business

If you’re a nimble start up and just need a method to work and share remotely, ignore VPNs for now. If you’re a multinational law firm, with sensitive data and employees flying regularly, a VPN would be daft to ignore. Our recommendation, why not consider both? All the flexibility and benefits of the Cloud but with the added security of a VPN.

If the Cloud is the clear winner in the VPN vs cloud computing contest the next step for your business will be to use our Cloud Assessment Tool. See just how easy a cloud migration could be for your business.