VPNs Rack Up Mobile Data Charges, Warns CensorNet

Internet security experts at CensorNet have warned that remote workers and branch offices that rely on VPN security technology to surf the Web and use web based applications, may be racking up unnecessary and expensive data charges – especially those using mobile devices over 3G or 4G networks.

VPNs, whilst providing a secure connection to remote workers accessing corporate systems, can become a significant drain on bandwidth if they are used to shuttle all web communications, even non-sensitive, via the head office before going out to the internet – requiring up to a third more data, says CensorNet. If employees are out on the road and are accessing the VPN using a mobile broadband connection, then the additional data use can add significantly to company mobile broadband bills.

In addition, the unnecessary bandwidth issue can add small amounts of time – milliseconds – to the time it takes for each element on a web page to load. When totted up across web pages and regular surfing sessions, employees that go online via a VPN are effectively being paid to wait for their web pages to load more slowly than if they were surfing the web directly.

Tim Lloyd, CEO of CensorNet said, “Traditionally companies using web proxy technology have used VPNs to ensure remote end-points are filtered in the same way that desktops are – so all web page visits go back into the head office to go through the proxy before they go out to the internet. But until now the cost and time implications haven’t been fully realized. With the growth of remote working and widespread access to mobile data connections via smart phones and tablets, companies may be incurring significantly more data charges than they ever anticipated.”

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