1 month ago
In today's increasingly digitised and connected world, businesses rely heavily on the Internet. Whether you use the Internet to communicate, share files, or work collaboratively, you must take your data security seriously. That’s where Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can help.
You may have heard about people using virtual private networks to magically access Netflix’s American offering from the other side of the Atlantic, but there’s much more to VPNs.
A VPN is a mechanism that creates a secure connection over the Internet. It allows users to establish a private network connection, even when using a public or unsecured Wi-Fi network. A VPN uses data encryption to protect information transmitted between your device and the server from outside interference or interception. The VPN server effectively acts as a safe conduit by rerouting Internet traffic through a dedicated network.
Because a VPN conceals your IP address, you can hide your actual location and identity while online. This means that a VPN can add an extra layer of privacy for your business, enabling you to avoid monitoring by advertisers, governments, or anyone with malicious intent.
Although the best VPN for your business depends on your needs, the following selection includes some of the most popular VPNs available today:
Best for Small Business, Sole Traders and Partnerships
Server locations in 94 countries
Dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Use on up to eight devices simultaneously
No dedicated business solution
Reportedly slower than some other VPNs
ExpressVPN Monthly Pricing
From £6.67 to £10.38
One of the most popular VPNs in the world and the go-to sponsor for countless YouTube channels, ExpressVPN is offered by Express Technologies, a company based in the British Virgin Islands.
ExpressVPN has been tech pundits TechRadar’s pick of the available VPNs for some time, combining ease-of-use with solid security features.
Best for security-conscious businesses wanting the option to scale
Security-focused business VPN solution
Can integrate into company resource access policies
Device and VPN use monitoring tools available
Designed to scale with your business
Fewer server locations (30+ countries)
Unclear pricing options
NordLayer Monthly Pricing
Quotes available upon request
Digital security company Nordsec, headquartered in Panama with offices in the UK, offers a variety of online security products, including the consumer-focused NordVPN and its business counterpart, NordLayer (formerly known as NordVPN Teams). A popular choice among those concerned about secure data storage.
Best all-rounder business VPN
Perimeter 81 Pros
Team and network management controls
Customise plans to suit your requirements
Highly configurable VPN options
Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS
Perimeter 81 Cons
Minimum of 10 team members
Some may find the interface over-complicated
Perimeter 81 Monthly Pricing
From $8 per user plus $40 per gateway to $20 per user plus $50 per gateway (enterprise option also available)
Perimeter 81 aims to help companies break free from legacy hardware and easily manage their networks and security from a single, seamless, cloud-based service. Although they're a relatively new company founded in 2018, Perimeter 81 has quickly grown to become one of the most popular business VPN providers.
Best VPN alternative
Designed for IT teams as well as users
Peer-to-peer connection protection
Set access levels with as much granularity as you want
Deployable to AWS, GCP, Azure or Linux servers
Not actually a VPN
Reports that support could be better
Twingate Monthly Pricing
Free option available, then from $5 to $12, with an enterprise option available upon request
Unlike the other VPNs on this list, Twingate isn't a VPN but can function as a VPN replacement. Twingate still allows users to remotely access office networks, cloud services, and other online restricted access services. However, it uses a Zero Trust Network Access solution to keep your business safe instead of a VPN.
Best for a one-stop secure email, calendar, cloud storage, and VPN solution
Proton VPN Pros
Allows you to get multiple services from one provider
Apps are open-source and audited
Very focussed on privacy
Fast VPN speeds
Proton VPN Cons
Support isn't 24/7
Pricing unclear on business offering
Proton VPN Monthly Pricing
From €6.49 to €12.99, with quotes for enterprise available upon request
Switzerland-based Proton offers a range of security and privacy-focused products for consumers and businesses under their Proton for Business brand. With a focus on ease of use, privacy, and fast speeds, Proton isn't just worth considering as a VPN provider; they also have a lot to offer with their other online services.
Implementing a VPN could bring a host of benefits to your business. Even for a small startup, a well-implemented broadband solution can enhance your business’s security and overall efficiency significantly.
Besides security, which is the main priority of a VPN, another key feature is the ability to access resources securely from anywhere in the world. Whether your colleagues are working from home, on a work trip, or at another office, some VPNs will provide a secure channel for them to connect to the network with the push of a button.
VPNs keep your business’s online activity from prying eyes and potential cyber attackers. VPNs offer an added layer of privacy by masking the user's IP address and encrypting their data. This function is particularly valuable when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often vulnerable to hackers.
In the same way that home users use VPNs to access region-locked content on services like Netflix, businesses with international operations can benefit from VPNs by accessing region-specific resources. For example, you could use a server located in a particular country to access content that would otherwise be restricted to your UK-based IP address.
If your office wants to restrict access to information and services to a few specific locations, but your team members want to access from remote locations, a VPN can allow you to do this. Crucially, your business will have total control over the users and IP addresses that are given access, helping you maintain the security of your network.
Various types of VPNs cater to different requirements. A site-to-site VPN enables secure communication between the local networks of multiple offices, allowing for the seamless sharing of data and resources.
If your business has many remote workers or some that travel regularly, you'll need to pick a VPN that supports remote access. Remote access VPNs - sometimes called client-to-site VPNs - allow your team to connect to the corporate network wherever they are.
Extranet VPNs can establish secure connections between a business's internal broadband network and external users, such as partners, suppliers, or customers. Going down this route would give your business control over access to specific resources for authorised third parties. These solutions typically provide suppliers access to inventory platforms or customers access to self-service portals.
A more traditional type of VPN, often used by large corporations, is the Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) option. This technology provides secure communication between locations by using dedicated private networks. Despite not being as commonplace as the aforementioned VPN types, MPLS is still in use by some companies with complex network infrastructures.
Lastly, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) networks use a web browser as the client interface, making them more accessible to the everyday user. This functionality makes SSL networks a simple solution for securely accessing web-based platforms and intranet portals.
To help you choose the right VPN for your business, you should assess its requirements across several criteria. Security should always be a top priority. You should consider the sensitivity of the data you share, the potential impact of a data breach, and any regulations around data privacy. If your business deals with highly sensitive information, you may need a VPN with stronger encryption standards and robust security features like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
You should also consider the number of employees accessing the VPN at any one time. Having an idea of the number of VPN users you'll need will help you select a VPN solution that can handle the traffic and provide sufficient bandwidth to meet your needs while providing a reliable connection. You should also double-check that the VPN solution supports all the devices and operating systems your team is using.
Aside from your business’s technical requirements for the VPN, you should consider the level of customer support you expect from the provider. Most reliable VPN services now offer 24-hour technical support to help resolve issues promptly. Do some research and read reviews from other businesses to make a judgement on the provider's track record.
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