I just spent an entire morning trying to log into my company’s VPN on my Windows PC so that I can access Email. That’s when it hit me. This is really useless technology. I don’t just mean VPN, I mean all three.
(1) Virtual Private Networks
VPN was ostensibly designed to allow users to access their corporate networks from the internet. But once you get into the corporate network, what do you do? The only three things you need to do on the corporate internet are Email, accessing enterprise data and using enterprise applications. Let’s look at these in a little more detail:
(a) Email – If you’re using Outlook Web Access or Outlook over http, you don’t need to use VPN to access email (one issue is that OWA is a slightly deprecated version of Outlook – but that’s not a big deal so you probably won’t be using email much long anyway). So that reduces the need for VPN down to enterprise data and enterprise applications.
(b) Enterprise Data – We’re seeing more and more organizations move their data to the cloud. You don’t need VPN to access cloud resources. Now some IT folks will argue that corporate networks are more secure than the cloud. WRONG! Hosting companies have a lot more at stake with security and invest a lot more in protecting their networks than all but the very largest companies can afford. Evidence the fact that more corporate networks are infected with the Conficker than are hosting providers.
So now we’re down to one use for VPN: enterprise applications.
(c) Enterprise Applications – Really? In this day and age? I’ve been in this business long enough to remember when your biggest programming concern was chads, and I have yet to see an inernally developed enterprise application that is as good as or better than the worst commercial application you can download from the Apple Store. And for the record, enterprise applications will NEVER be better than their commercial counterparts. Think about it, there’s a shortage of really great developers in the world already. If you’re a great developer, would you rather work for Zynga developing cool games or sit in some 4 X 6 cubicle putting new covers on TPS Reports ?
Ergo, no need for VPN.
But wait, is there a flaw in this logic?. Enterprise applications need to access enteprise data. So even if we used commercial apps, we would still need a VPN to transfer that data to systems on the corporate network. If you believe this argument, go back and read (b) above.
I rest my case. Make VPN go away.
Next: Email: the Digital Dumpster.