A VPN or Virtual Private Network is an essential tool for businesses of all sizes to keep their data and online activities secure and private.
While big corporations usually have their own VPN services, small and medium-sized businesses often lack the IT resources to set up and maintain their own VPNs – so they tend to look for smaller players in the market, as they’re cheaper.
Fortunately, some well known VPN companies have started catering to this under-served market, providing secure access to servers for hosting documents, apps, and other office resources for remote staff.
Benefits & Drawbacks of Business VPNs
|🔒 Enhanced security
|🚨 Cost – can be higher
|🌍 Access to remote networks
|🐌 Slower speeds
|💻 Protects data in transit
|📊 Bandwidth limitations
|📈 Scalability for growing teams
|🤔 Requires IT expertise
|🌐 Bypasses geographic restrictions
|🕵️♀️ Potential for logging or data tracking
|🚀 Easy to use and manage
|🤕 Limited customer support
|📉 Decreases likelihood of cyber attacks
|🌐 Potential for connection drops or interruptions
When selecting a VPN for business use, it’s important to consider factors such as speed, reliability, security features, ease of use, and customer support. Based on these criteria, here are some of the best VPNs for businesses:
- Perimeter 81 – Our top choice VPN for business, with fast and stable servers capable of handling all kinds of network traffic including SSH, RDP, VNC, and Telnet. It also offers site-to-site VPNs for added security.
- NordLayer – A specialist business VPN that’s popular with small and medium-sized organizations.
- Twingate – A business VPN that caters to remote teams with SSO support, split tunneling, zero-trust access, and private gateways.
- Windscribe – A budget-friendly business VPN option with top security features, easy-to-use apps, and centralized billing. However, it lacks 24/7 customer support.
- CyberGhost – A great value VPN service with secure apps that are easy to install and get started. It also boasts some of the fastest servers tested.
- IPVanish – A VPN service with fast servers, secure and reliable connections, and user-friendly apps. However, it would be better if it had 24-hour customer support.
- ExpressVPN – A VPN service with an extensive network of fast servers, high-grade encryption, and works well even in countries like China and the UAE. However, it is not the cheapest option on this list.
Are free business VPNs a good idea?
While a free VPN service may seem like an appealing option for businesses looking to save money, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Free VPNs typically lack the large server networks, stringent encryption standards, and speedy connections that are available with paid options. As a result, the weak encryption used by free VPNs can make your business more susceptible to hacking attempts and data loss. Additionally, slow connection speeds can result in longer wait times for file transfers or connections to remote company servers.
Furthermore, some free VPN services have been known to insert tracking cookies, mine user data, and sell it to advertisers for a profit. This can put your employees’ privacy and sensitive business information at risk, making it important to avoid using free VPNs for business purposes.
In summary, while a free VPN may seem like a cost-effective solution, the potential risks involved make it advisable to opt for a reputable paid VPN service instead. The added security and peace of mind that a paid VPN provides is well worth the investment in the long run.
How can a VPN help remote-working?
The increasing trend of remote work and business travel has made it necessary for companies to prioritize the security of their data. VPNs are an essential tool to keep data protected and encrypted, especially when employees are connecting to public Wi-Fi networks that are not secure.
Remote work also brings an increased risk of cybercrime, including corporate espionage and email/credit card theft. Hackers often target personal devices used for business tasks, and in 2014, over 16 million mobile devices worldwide were infected by malware. Small businesses are not immune to these attacks, and some have even had to cease operations due to ransomware attacks.
Are Business VPNs worth it?
Investing in a business VPN is a cost-effective way for companies of all sizes to secure their data and minimize the risk of cyber threats.
With VPN apps installed on company laptops and smartphones, employees can connect to public Wi-Fi networks without worrying about data breaches. By prioritizing cybersecurity, businesses can protect their sensitive data, maintain their reputation, and avoid costly downtime due to cyber attacks.
Think of it like this: protecting your business data with a VPN is like building a fortress to keep your treasures safe from marauders.
With the increasing trend of remote work and business travel, it’s crucial to safeguard your data against cyber threats, just as a fortress protects precious resources from invaders.
Just as a fortress needs to be well-maintained and fortified against new threats, your business needs to stay up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity measures to stay protected against evolving threats. By investing in a reliable VPN, you can build a strong and secure fortress around your business data, keeping it safe from malicious entities and ensuring the longevity of your business.
What must I look for, when choosing business VPN?
As you’re probably close to selecting a VPN for business use, there are several factors you need to consider right now.
Firstly, and most improtantly, I recommend using a VPN that is specifically designed for business use, as it will offer the necessary functionality and security to meet regulatory compliance standards.
Other factors I suggest that you consider when selecting a VPN for business use include:
- Scalability: If you plan to hire more employees, make sure your VPN can keep up with the demand. Adding and removing access and accounts should be easy, and keep an eye on the price as well.
- Security: Choose a VPN with strong encryption, leak prevention, authentication, and a no-logs policy from the VPN provider. Features like two-factor authentication, perfect forward secrecy, and modern, open-source VPN protocols should also be considered.
- Cloud or self-hosted: Cloud-based VPNs are easier to set up, manage, and scale, as they allow you to host files and apps on a remote server that employees can access using VPN apps. However, self-hosted VPNs can offer more control, but require more IT resources and expertise.
- A good dashboard: A well-designed dashboard for managing VPN accounts and access privileges is important for keeping employees connected and secured.
- Site-to-site: Site-to-site VPNs can create a secure tunnel between two networks, which is useful for businesses with multiple offices.
- Support: Choose a VPN with knowledgeable and prompt customer support, preferably with live support available. Be sure to check when support is available, as some support is limited to business hours in the country where the VPN is based.
Are there any alternatives to business VPN?
While VPNs are a great solution for many business needs, there are alternative solutions that may be better suited for enterprise environments. In particular, for site-to-site connections between geographically distant offices and data centers, modern alternatives exist that can offer greater speed, security, and functionality.
One such alternative is MPLS, or multi-protocol label switching. This routing technology uses labels instead of public IP addresses, which allows for traffic prioritization and is less vulnerable to insecure IP lookups. MPLS also generally suffers less latency than a site-to-site VPN.
Another alternative is ZTNA, or Zero Trust Network Access. Unlike VPNs, ZTNA solutions work on the application layer and are independent of the network. Users are connected directly to applications based on user verification and device posture, and applications are hidden from the internet, which reduces attack surface. This is the approach used by Twingate.
Cloud VPNs, set up using SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking), can also be faster, more secure, and require less maintenance than traditional VPNs. SD-WAN cloud VPNs are best implemented with SASE, or secure access service edge, which gives the organization a single, centralized view of the entire network.
Finally, for very large enterprises, leased circuits (also known as leased lines) offer permanet and private connections between two or more locations. However, leased circuits are expensive and not practical for smaller businesses.
Which Business VPNs should I avoid?
Unfortunately, not all VPN providers are created equal and this is true for business VPNs too. Here are a few examples of VPN providers that I strongly advise against using:
- HolaVPN: This Israel-based provider once operated a free VPN extension for Chrome that boasted almost 50 million users. However, it was found to have deployed its users’ machines as part of a massive botnet army without their consent. Users’ individual bandwidth was used to engage in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, promote pirated content, and distribute pornography.
- PureVPN: While PureVPN is a well-known paid VPN provider, media reports have suggested that it collaborated with the FBI to identify a Massachusetts resident who was believed to be stalking a 24-year-old woman. The man had allegedly used PureVPN to cover his tracks while attempting to blackmail the woman. While PureVPN has denied recording the content of the man’s communications while connected to its servers, it did boast of a ‘no-logs’ policy prior to this episode – now quietly changed….
These examples illustrate why it’s so so important to choose a VPN provider that values your privacy and security.
While some providers may offer tempting features or low prices, it’s important to do your research and select a reputable provider that will prioritize your business’s needs. By choosing the right VPN provider, you can rest assured that your data and network will be protected from external threats.