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OpenVPN Study Reveals COVID-19 Spikes in VPN Usage and Surge Isn’t Slowing Down

A recent study reveals how the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent surge in remote work has affected businesses of all sizes. In March 2020, governors of multiple states issued stay-at-home orders to decrease the spread of COVID-19, which led to an influx of employees working from home. This sudden shift spiked VPN usage around the world. With so many organizations shifting to a remote work model, network security has become a major focal point across industries.

The study, conducted by the leading provider of network security resources, OpenVPN, revealed how the abrupt shift to remote work has affected organizational network security and in particular, business VPN usage. The study surveyed employees from 300 different companies across sectors such as technology, energy, education, healthcare, engineering, and construction. According to the results, 68% of employees claim their company has expanded VPN usage as a direct result of COVID-19, and 29% say their organization started using a VPN for the first time ever.

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“We saw a huge demand from our customers to increase their number of connections in mid-March. Now as of late April, we’ve had to increase our customer success team by 200% and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” says Martin Zapata, Customer Success Manager at OpenVPN.

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But not all companies are making the change. Of the 21% of employees who report that their company has never used a VPN, a staggering 71% go on to say those companies are still neglecting to utilize this essential security tool, despite switching to remote work. This suggests that even in the most extenuating circumstances, many companies still fail to prioritize network security.

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“We are experiencing a fast track to virtualization sparked by the COVID-19 crisis; it will be detrimental to organizations who don’t find a way to innovate so employees can have the flexibility to work remotely,” says Francis Dinha, CEO of OpenVPN.

Despite many companies failing to take adequate cybersecurity measures, 99% of surveyed employees in companies currently utilizing a VPN believe their company will continue to utilize a VPN after COVID-19 — an encouraging percentage implying that VPNs will continue to be an essential part of remote work for years to come.

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