Socio-technical Impacts of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Telecommuting

Virtual Private Networks have become increasingly relevant in today’s distributed corporate environment. Working remotely is now a viable option for many workers and it often holds many advantages for both the employees and the employers. This qualitative study is uniquely focused on the role that user practices and social processes play in the design of VPN systems. The research involved 7 in-depth, open interviews with employees from 3 different local technology companies. The subjects selected were either users of VPN technology or people directly involved in the administration and implementation of VPN solutions. The resulting data was systematically analyzed, using various techniques from Grounded Theory. This data was processed through 3 semi-overlapping stages: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. Emergent themes were extracted and carefully categorized. This paper addresses the most important and relevant themes that were found in an attempt to provide new research directions and educated hypotheses for future studies.