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October 31, 2014

Be safe and secure with VPN for Windows Phone 8.1

Need an extra layer of security for your Lumia with Windows Phone 8.1? Here’s the skinny on Virtual Private Networks.

It’s the last day of Cyber Security Month, so it’s fitting that we end with an introduction to Virtual Private Networks. A VPN provides a more secure connection–whether by Wi-Fi or cellular data– to the Internet or your company’s network.

Why would you want to use a VPN? Let’s say you’re at your local coffeehouse or library and you want to browse the Web via a public Wi-Fi network. With a VPN connection, you can do so without fear of someone digitally reading over your shoulder. And if you’re accessing private company content on your phone, you want to ensure privacy by using a VPN connection to your company services.

First, your Lumia or other smartphone needs to have the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system installed. So if you have a Lumia 830, for example, or a Lumia 520, Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 or Lumia 920 with Lumia Cyan update installed, you’re good to go.

There are two types of VPN available for WP 8.1. The first is IPsec IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2). The second is SSL-VPN (Secure Sockets Layer VPN), which is more commonly used for encrypted connections with web browser.

If you don’t already have a VPN profile on your Lumia, contact your IT support department to get your organization’s VPN connection settings. Setting up a VPN on your phone can be tricky, so it’s always good to get help! With a compatible MDM (mobile device management) solution, your company IT department can remotely configure your Lumia with the right settings so you don’t need to worry about the technicalities.


The VPN feature for Windows Phone is supported by many major VPN vendors, including Check Point, Del/SonicWALL and Juniper. As for VPN apps, they include Check Point Mobile VPN, F5 BIG-IP Edge Client and Junos Pulse VPN. Of course, talk to your IT department to see which VPN your company or organization uses.

The upcoming Lumia Denim update will also introduce consumer VPN, allowing you to use data and browse the Web privately and securely while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots or your home Wi-Fi. More on that later …

Ready to jump into the VPN waters? Go here for a full step-by-step primer on installing a VPN on your smartphone. If you’d like to read even further and get the full technical requirements, go here.