India Inc. has other options if VPNs are banned

VPNs can provide secure, remote access to an enterprise network. If their use is banned, there are other means for businesses to secure access.

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With many businesses now using on VPNs to support the move to hybrid working and secure access to corporate data by employees working from home, a proposal by a parliamentary standing committee to ban their use in India could force enterprises to find new ways to secure remote access to their networks.

“The Committee notes with anxiety the technological challenge posed by Virtual Private Network (VPN) services and Dark Web that can bypass cyber security walls and allow criminals to remain anonymous online,” the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs told the Rajya Sabha in a recent report.

The report recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs coordinate with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to identify and permanently block such VPNs with the help of internet service providers. It further recommended to develop a coordination mechanism with international agencies to ensure VPNs are permanently blocked. Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000, gives the government powers to block information (such as VPN apps ) from public access under certain conditions, but MeitY will only do this after it receives a specific request from an authorized Nodal Officer, according to the submission..

The proposal to ban VPN could not have come at a more inopportune time, says Shweta Baidya, senior research manager for software and IT services at IDC India.

“Data security and privacy will pose a major threat to organizations if the use of VPN is banned. An outright ban on its usage will act as a huge dampener to the organizations that require secure connectivity to stay connected globally,” says Baidya.

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