Interview with Shaji John - CEO of UTunnel

Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks

Safety Detectives spoke with Shaji John, CEO of UTunnel, about what makes UTunnel VPN unique, the advantages of a cloud-based VPN, and the importance for businesses to use a VPN as a cybersecurity tool, and more.

Can you talk about your background and what motivated you to start UTunnel?

Our team created UTunnel in 2019 as a VPN solution for small to medium sized companies. After working in the information technology field for many years, we noticed that the VPN solutions which were designed with big organizations in mind couldn’t scale down to match the infrastructure or requirements of small and mid-sized businesses. Furthermore, the available hardware-based VPN solutions needed technical expertise to configure and had limited scalability. We wanted to change this scenario and create an affordable, easy-to-use, software-based VPN and network security solution exclusively for SMBs. And that’s how we ended up creating UTunnel.

Since its inception as a VPN solution, UTunnel has grown a lot to evolve as a full-fledged network access solution – UTunnel Secure Access. It enables SMBs to create robust VPN networks and allows network segmentation at the application level, with its zero trust application access solution OneClick Access.

What are the main features of UTunnel?

We designed UTunnel Secure Access to serve as a software-based VPN and zero trust application access solution, which is quick and easy to deploy with a few clicks. It is cloud-native and provides seamless cloud integration by partnering with leading cloud providers like Linode, DigitalOcean, Vultr, Hetzner, UpCloud, Kamatera, and Exoscale. UTunnel’s VPN solution enables its users to securely connect with systems, data, and other resources. It comes packed with essential business-centric features like Single Sign On, policy-based access controls, event logs, 2-factor authentication, site-to-site tunneling, split tunneling, external DNS, static IP, IP whitelisting, etc. UTunnel’s user-friendly web-dashboard facilitates hassle-free user, team, and server management.

For those tech-savvy users who want to have more control over their VPN servers, UTunnel offers an on-premise server/Bring Your Own Server option, where the user can bring their own physical server or Virtual Private Server to deploy the VPN server. UTunnel Secure Access also offers OneClick Access, a secure network access solution that secures your network resources at the application level and provides single-click access to the data resources through HTTP/HTTPS, RDP, or SSH applications.

How is UTunnel different from other VPNs?

We have crafted UTunnel as an innovative VPN solution that caters exclusively to small and mid-size businesses. It is different from its competitors with its clean and simple user interface that enables easy navigation within the intuitively designed web console. The VPN server creations are processed by automated server deployment, which facilitates server creation in just a few clicks. UTunnel’s VPN solution is quick to deploy and easy to use

OneClick Access, UTunnel’s zero trust application access (ZTAA) solution, is powered by the principles of zero trust and provides single-touch access to SMBs’ network resources via HTTP/HTTPS, RDP, or SSH applications. Another important feature of UTunnel that makes it different from others is its attractive and affordable pricing plans.

What are the advantages of a cloud-based VPN?

Earlier businesses were dependent on traditional, VPN solutions to secure their network resources and they required a dedicated IT team to configure and manage them. When organizations started moving their resources to the cloud, a need for a more convenient VPN solution arose as the hardware-based VPNs were at a loss to secure them. That’s how cloud-based VPNs came into being.

Compared to the physically docked, traditional VPNs, cloud VPNs are hardware-free and do not require a dedicated IT team for maintenance, making them ideal for SMBs which usually operate on a limited budget and resources. Cloud VPNs are software-based VPN solutions, making them easy to install and affordable. Unlike traditional VPNs, Cloud VPNs are not limited by geographical restrictions and can provide secure access to organizations’ network resources globally. In that sense, cloud VPNs are much preferred by organizations as it supports the remote working culture and enables secure access to resources over the public internet.

Why is a VPN such an important cybersecurity software for businesses?

Even though there are many cybersecurity tools available in the market, many organizations consider VPN as a basic cybersecurity tool. A VPN solution helps organizations by seamlessly securing network resources and restricting network access to employees and other authorized personnel. It also enables the employees to securely access resources on their business network allowing them to work remotely.

Setting up VPN for business ensures that organizations’ data is encrypted using encryption protocols and well protected to reduce the risks of data breaches and data snooping. It also allows users to block malicious sites and restrict access to unauthorized users.

Other than a VPN, what are some essential cybersecurity tools that a small to medium-sized business should have on their computer or phone?

With the increasing number of cyber attacks reported across the world, cyber security has become an utmost significant concern for businesses of all sizes. Even while running on limited resources and infrastructure, SMBs should include a holistic cybersecurity policy as part of their business priority. An effective cyber safety plan starts with educating the employees on the importance of cyber security along with identifying phishing attempts and scams. Employees should also be encouraged to use password management tools and multi-factor authentication to improve the security posture of the network.

Along with setting up a VPN network, businesses should use Firewall services to guard networks and devices against the threats spread across the internet. Reviewing user rights from time to time reduces the risk of data breaches. It is ideal to restrict access to only those who require it and should be revoked once they change their role. SMBs should also back up your data regularly as they can help you easily recover from a ransomware attack and mitigate its repercussions. It is also important for SMBs to proactively identify flaws within the business network and deploy the patches to rectify them.

Moreover, SMBs should have a proper, multi-pronged cybersecurity plan to counter cyber attacks, and they shouldn’t slack from creating a proper strategy and adequate awareness among the employees.

About the Author

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.