Does an LMS Need a VPN? – The Importance of Securing Your Internal eLearning Resources
eLearning is not a new concept, but there are still many startups, SMBs, and even large corporations that are just starting to learn the value of having a dedicated learning management system or LMS. With that, of course, comes the need to curate a database of learning and training resources internally, while also offering outbound links and external resources that can benefit employees and the company as a whole. Which resources and databases need to be secured and which can be public domain (if any)? How do you set up the right access solutions so that your eLearning content is accessible to those who need it and protected from potential threats?
This is where a virtual private network, or VPN, can come in handy. For organizations that don’t already have one in place, it may also provide other benefits and serve other parts of the business that need a little extra privacy or dedicated network support.
Are the Resources Even Worth Stealing?
It’s plausible that someone could hijack information from an organization and use it for any number of nefarious purposes. Some people steal information to expose fraud or poor business practices. Others will take consumer information or business banking information so that they can use those funds for their own spending spree. It’s not about whether the resources are worth stealing. Someone, somewhere, will have an intent. It’s about whether the resources are worth securing so that your organization’s data doesn’t get stolen for any reason whatsoever.
Data and educational resources are proprietary resources of the organization. If they end up in the wrong hands, several different issues could result. That’s why several learning management softwares suggest an additional layer of security so that the eLearning resources aren’t just out there in the public domain.
The Benefits of Adding a VPN
A virtual private network will allow an organization to select its’ users carefully, require them to create passwords and login credentials, and ensure that only the people who have access to the private network have access to the LMS database and your eLearning platform. Banks and financial services organizations use VPNs for everything that they do. Especially in light of the increase in remote work, more companies are looking for virtual ways to secure all their knowledge and this could be the answer.
A VPN offers:
- Security, even on public WiFi networks. In today’s world where companies are often still working remotely, this can be an invaluable asset for organizations.
- Data privacy protection from your ISP. Perhaps you don’t want to risk a data breach with your ISP and want to secure your network in another way. That’s where a VPN can come in handy.
- Privacy protection for data from different apps and services. You won’t just get protection for your eLearning resources. When you install a VPN, you’ll ensure that all of your apps, tools, and services are only accessible by those who should have permission.
- Access to any eLearning module or content, anywhere in the world. Your VPN can go anywhere, allowing employees to log in from any device and any location. Again, with the increase in remote work, this is a great way to keep company content accessible but secure against potential threats or loss.
- Multiple device protection. One virtual private network can be fully protected, whether it’s accessed from a desktop computer or mobile device, thanks to modern technology. If you want to ensure that your employees and your devices are safe, a VPN could do the trick.
Other Ways to Secure Your LMS
Of course, a virtual private network isn’t the only way that you can create a secure, private eLearning database for your team. You can also use a limited-access platform that allows you to assign users and generate login credentials so that only those who have permission can access your learning management system. There are third-party firewall tools and other security resources that can be installed to ensure that your computer network is safe from all kinds of threats, saving you from having to specifically protect the LMS itself.
Some protection options include:
- Setting roles and permissions
- Two-factor authentication
- SSO or SSL (Single Sign-On or Secure Sockets Layer) technology
- Cloud-hosted deployment that includes limited access and permissions
- IP blockers
- Anti-spam features
- Data encryption
- Domain-based registrations
- Mobile security
To ensure that your LMS is always protected, you’ll want to conduct regular security checkups and keep your software up-to-date. Open-source software and cloud-based platforms generally have automatic update features enabled to help with this, but you’ll want to check the settings just to be sure. Speaking of open-source, let’s talk a little more about that option for your LMS.
What about Open-Source LMS Platforms?
The next question that many people have is what happens when you have an open-source eLearning platform—can you even secure such a thing? The fact is that you can, indeed, secure an LMS that is based in the open-source arena. That’s where some of the tools mentioned above, like SSL and two-factor authentication, can come in handy.
There are even open-source VPNs out there, which proves that just because something is part of the public domain doesn’t mean that it can’t be protected or privatized in some way. No matter the source of your LMS, you’ll want to take the time to find the best security options so that you can protect your resources and company data but make everything easily accessible to your teams.
The Bottom Line
A VPN is a viable option for those looking to secure their LMS and all the valuable data that it contains. However, it’s not necessarily required, and with the enhanced security features of modern software, it’s hardly needed for most operations. Ultimately, organizations will want to compare their options and determine how much security they need. This will help determine whether a VPN is a good, or even necessary, choice to protect their eLearning resources. Contact us today for a free consultation.