VPNs are becoming more popular among private internet users. In the face of data breaches, identify theft, data farming from big companies, and other cybersecurity risks, more internet users are seeing the importance of data encryption.
But it’s not just private users that can benefit from VPN. Virtual private networks have been around for a while now, and with the emergence of VPN services, it’s much easier to create an encrypted tunnel with just one application.
So, what are some benefits of deploying a VPN? Creating a secure connection for your entire business network, safe remote access, and seamless file sharing are the top benefits of having a VPN for your business.
In this article, we break down the VPN in easy-to-understand terms and help you decide whether you should get one for your business.
How Does A VPN Work?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a connectivity tool that secures your connection to the internet.
Whenever you connect a device (a smartphone, a laptop, a desktop) to the internet, that device gets a unique ID called an IP address. The IP address can reveal information about your general location (your city and country) and your internet service provider.
A VPN works by rerouting your connection through a private network. What this does is encrypt all the data going in and out of your device. One of the most popular commercial uses of VPN is freedom from geotags; with a VPN, your IP address is no longer bound by location. You can use your VPN to access content that would have otherwise been inaccessible because of your geographical location.
Why Would A Business Use A VPN?
There are VPNs designed for personal use and VPNs designed for corporate use. Business-line VPNs are different in that they’re designed to provide protection for multiple users in different locations. Business VPNs also allow team leaders to change their VPN settings and implement these across all devices, wherever they are located.
VPNs may not seem like a necessity for medium to small businesses, but it’s a worthy investment especially if most of your operations are dependent on an internet connection.
Here are some reasons why businesses should consider getting a VPN:
- You get one IP address for your organization. One of the main features of VPNs is IP address masking. But if you have a personal VPN, the IP address randomly assigned to you will also be assigned to other users of the service. In the case of IP-based interruptions, your connection might also suffer as a result.
By using a business-line VPN, you can provide a blanketed protection for your entire organization. Their connection remains encrypted with only one IP address specifically assigned to your business.
This is useful when your connections are restricted by IP address. You can be sure that only company devices are connected to the network, and that all data exchange is accounted for. Having a static IP address for your company also limits your vulnerability to server downtime from VPN services.
- Your employees can securely access your remote network. Business-line VPNs implement a login or decryption process before users access the database. This is a great way to keep crucial business information under lock and key, ensuring that only verified users can access files.
Another great use of a VPN network is secure peer-to-peer connections. P2P connections work by connecting devices with other devices regardless of location, while allowing each device to create, save, and use its own files and applications. With a VPN, remote workers can access files, apps, and information on on-site computers, without having to go to the office.
- Sharing files is faster and easier. In a world where file-sharing platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive exist, you might wonder why a VPN is necessary at all. Keep in mind that even Dropbox and Google Drive have file size limits and that in order to access files locally, users must download files to their own computers beforehand.
With a VPN, these issues are bypassed. With a secure connection to on-site computers and servers, workers can instantly share files with each other, without the need for demanding internet speeds.
Do I Need A VPN For My Small Business?
Cybersecurity threats aren’t limited to big institutions. In fact, small to medium businesses are common targets of email phishing scams, social engineering, and DDoS attacks – all of which can be avoided by putting the proper cybersecurity measures in place, including using a VPN.
Think about it this way: more and more internet users are using VPN technology for private browsing alone. People aware that online security risks exist, and while a VPN might not be the one-stop solution you need to avoid hackers completely, it’s another barrier that keeps you away from targeted attacks.
A VPN is typically used to access region-locked content that would otherwise be unavailable to the user. As a business, a VPN offers more than free internet access. Consider getting a VPN if:
- Your employees bring their own devices to work. If you’re allowing your employees to use their laptops and smartphones to connect to your computer network, having a VPN will provide an added layer of security to their devices when they’re in public spaces like airports and coffee shops.
- Your employees need to be on the go. A workforce that isn’t tethered to their desks needs constant access to the company database. With a VPN, your employees can work remotely in the most efficient way possible.
- Your employees travel to multiple locations. Don’t let hackers follow your IP trail like breadcrumbs. With a VPN, you can mask the little pockets of data your employees unknowingly share whenever traveling, which will keep your business’ computer network secure.
Benefits Of Using A VPN
Adopting VPN technology is easier now more than ever thanks to VPN applications. You don’t have to invest in additional infrastructure to get tunnel encryption. As a business, you can easily purchase a monthly plan with a VPN provider for rates as low as $10 per month.
Ease of use and access is a primary incentive of adding a VPN service to your small business security network. Here are other reasons why you should consider getting a VPN connection for your business:
1) Unrestricted Market Research
Market research is almost always region-specific, which can prove especially difficult if you’re trying to expand or enter a new market. Most market researchers need to spend extra on paid tools to enable unrestricted market research.
With a VPN, your marketing and sales team can choose whatever location in the world and conduct market research in that area. Even without paid tools and subscriptions, you can conduct quick searches on Google, Facebook, and other platforms and obtain the data you need just by changing your digital location on the map.
2) Better Security With Clients
Businesses in finance, law, education, healthcare, and just about any industry that gathers and utilizes personal customer information are required to comply with strict IT cybersecurity rules. On top of this, your clients will inevitably feel safer knowing that your entire small business network is using a VPN to keep their files safer.
Granted a VPN won’t completely make your system hacker-proof but adding this to your small business security network can help reinforce your entire system. Read more about what it takes to secure a small business network from scratch here.
3) Location Freedom
Most online businesses have a remote workforce, with team members living in different parts of the globe. But if you’re trying to target local clients in a specific location, showing that you’re from the area can increase your chances of gaining their trust and acquiring their business.
With a VPN service, your business can set your location to anywhere in the world, adjusting to meet client demands and expectations. This allows online agencies and small businesses to have a strong foothold in a particular location and signal a reliable international presence, even without a local office.
4) Replaces Expensive Hardware
Just like any business, you probably use the cloud to store crucial resources such as data or applications. Businesses that demand connectivity are likely going to have to invest in a data center routing system, which can prove too expensive and too complex of a solution for medium and small businesses.
A VPN server is the next best thing. By adopting this service for your business network, workers in different locations can access files as if they were in the office. This isn’t limited to endpoint devices either; businesses with more than one branch can use VPN services to connect one office location to another, without having to access a server or an application.
Find The Best VPN For You
With so many VPN providers to choose from, how do you pick one that works best for you? Consider the following features before signing on with a VPN service:
- How secure is your VPN? There are different security protocols involved in VPN technology, with some protocols providing more complex and therefore more robust protection to your data. Knowing the difference between SSL/TLs, L2TP, IPSec, and other VPN protocols will help you understand just how much protection your VPN can provide.
- Is your VPN scaleable? Over time, your business will grow and produce more traffic. Ideally, you would want a VPN service that can meet your bandwidth requirements, now and in the future.
- For businesses that encourage remote access, make sure that the service you are choosing has a mobile-friendly option that can be installed on smartphones. There’s no point in installing a VPN on laptops and personal computers if smartphones aren’t equally protected.