The threat of cybercrime means that no business is safe from malware, viruses and data loss. Never has it been more important for companies to invest in digital security provision, including antivirus software, firewalls and – yes – a business VPN.
A business VPN is an effective way to protect your company’s assets. It provides a first line of defence, encrypting data and hiding IP addresses to reduce the risk of your business falling victim to cybercrime.
If you’re considering investing in a business VPN, this guide will provide the information you need to make an informed decision. We’ll look at what a business VPN is, how it works and the benefits you can expect by making it part of your cybersecurity strategy.
- What is a business VPN?
- How does a VPN work?
- What are the pros and cons of using a business VPN?
- The benefits of a business VPN
- The drawbacks of a business VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It provides end-to-end encryption for your device’s internet connection. Businesses use VPNs to encrypt devices, including desktops, tablets and smartphones, that are connected to the web in different locations – safeguarding company data through a secure internet connection.
By using a business VPN, confidential information and company assets will be better protected from hackers and cybercriminals. They also make it safer to connect to public Wi-Fi networks outside your place of business – perfect for remote workers.
A business VPN is a digital service that you pay for on a subscription basis. They aren’t expensive, but prices do vary by provider. Some of the most popular business VPN providers are Perimeter 81, VyprVPN and Hotspot Shield; learn more about these providers in this guide from TechRadar Pro.
A business VPN works by making your internet connection more secure. It does this by assigning your device a temporary IP address, so you stay anonymous when browsing the web.
Say you’re working in a café on a laptop and are connected to a public network. A VPN will assign your device a temporary IP address when you’re online, making it harder for hackers to infiltrate your device and extract information about your company – something which would be much simpler if your device was using its original IP address.
Here are three key takeaways to help you understand how a business VPN works:
- Virtual – any connection between your device and an internet network is a private, end-to-end connection, wherever you are and whatever device you’re using.
- Private – because your IP address is hidden, all your online activity is private; it would be hard for any person or organisation to trace it back to you and your company.
- Network – a business VPN relies on a network of VPN servers located around the world, which assign temporary IP addresses to billions of devices.
As soon as you start using a business VPN across your devices, they’ll be protected whenever you’re online. This means you and your team can work from anywhere with confidence, knowing that your confidential company information has a line of defence.
If you’re considering investing in a VPN for your business, the following pros and cons should help make your decision a little easier.
Better internet security
Even if you’ve invested in the very latest antivirus software and provided cybersecurity training for your employees, your devices are still vulnerable to malware, viruses and cybercrime. Hackers continue to use increasingly strategies to infiltrate networks and compromise data, so you should explore every avenue to bolster your security.
A business VPN should form part of your network’s security suite. This level of encryption all but eliminates the risk of your confidential data falling into the wrong hands, and is extremely effective at protecting portable business devices which are used on networks outside your business.
Secure remote access
As the number of people working remotely continues to rise, businesses must have the security provision in place to safeguard devices on potentially unsafe networks. Whether connecting to the company cloud or a password manager app, it’s crucial that any device used away from your secure office network is protected, to keep confidential company data safe.
A VPN provides the security you, your colleagues and employees need to confidently work on any network without compromising company data and security. Because the device’s IP address is hidden, there’s little chance hackers could access private business information, even on an unsecured public network.
Safe data sharing across networks
Data security is paramount. In recent years, there have been several high-profile instances of businesses falling victim to data breaches through lapses in network security. By using a business VPN, you can ensure that all files shared across your network and beyond are encrypted, and only accessible by those with the right VPN encryption key.
It’s hard to think of a type of business that wouldn’t benefit from the encryption offered by a VPN. Whether you’re filing an invoice or emailing a colleague, a VPN ensures that all files are encrypted, making it virtually impossible for hackers and cybercriminals to compromise your data security.
Sidestep internet censorship when travelling abroad
If you or your team travel abroad on business, you may have encountered instances of international censorship – when a certain website or app is barred from view. Not only is this frustrating, but it can impact on productivity, with members of your team unable to access files, tools and platforms which they rely on.
A business VPN solves this issue by assigning a temporary IP address. This blocks sites from identifying where you are, so you can access the same apps, tools and platforms as you would back in the office.
While there’s no doubting the benefits of a business VPN, their single biggest drawback is cost. Typically, a business VPN will cost a minimum of £10 per month; that’s covering 3-4 devices. The price will go up the more devices you want to cover, so businesses with lots of laptops, tablets and desktops may be looking at a significant monthly cost to protect their tech assets.
Remember, though, that while a monthly fee may be an unwanted extra overhead, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Set up and management
While a business VPN isn’t difficult to set up or manage, some small businesses that lack IT resource may struggle. Integrating a VPN with existing systems and software can be difficult, as can finding the time to manage the tool and ensure all devices stay protected.
The good news is that new cloud-based VPN providers have made things much easier, with dedicated software to help businesses manage their contract and get the most out of the product.
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