While the Internet is a treasure trove of information, it also has its share of risks. In 2021 alone, the FBI recorded more than 840,000 complaints and potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. It’s also well-known that small businesses are a popular target for hackers as they are often the most vulnerable.
If your business operates in the digital space, then having a secure connection to your network is crucial. And the most secure way to do this is through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With a VPN, you can create a secure internet connection, allowing you to access sensitive data without fear of interception or theft.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how VPNs work, the different types available, and how to set one up for your business.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an encrypted connection between two points on public networks such as the Internet. It allows users to access resources securely without anyone else being able to intercept or monitor the data sent and received.
Essentially, it creates an invisible tunnel between you and your destination server that keeps your data secure from cybercriminals. This means that even if someone were able to hack into your network, they wouldn’t be able to access anything without the encryption keys.
How to Set Up a VPN
Setting up a VPN on your device is relatively easy. Steps may vary slightly depending on your device and VPN service, but the general process remains the same.
Step 1 : Initial Prep
First, you’ll need to choose a VPN provider that offers the features and services you need for your business. Be sure to research which version of encryption they use, what servers they offer, and what their customer service is like before making your choice.
Step 2: VPN Protocols
When browsing for a VPN service, you’ll come across different protocols that offer varying levels of security and anonymity. Don’t forget to look up each type available, as this can help narrow down which provider to choose.
The most popular protocols are OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and SSTP. OpenVPN is the most secure option as it provides strong encryption and offers speed and reliability for a good connection.
Step 3: VPN Software Installation
Once you have chosen a provider, download the appropriate software onto each device that will be accessing the network through this VPN connection. Follow any instructions provided by your VPN app during installation so that everything is configured correctly.
Then, adjust the settings on each device according to your provider’s instructions. This may include setting up a username and password and any other parameters you want to configure.
Step 4: Test and Troubleshoot VPN
After your settings are configured, connect the device to the VPN using the credentials provided by your chosen provider. Once connected, all data sent or received is encrypted and secure from prying eyes.
Test that everything works correctly by attempting to access sensitive data or information through this connection. If there are any issues, contact your VPN service for assistance with troubleshooting before continuing on with regular operations over this connection.
Step 5: Rollout
Once you’re confident your VPN connection is secure, it’s time to roll out the service across your business. If you have many devices or users, consider implementing a centralized system for managing and controlling access to the network.
With a VPN, you can create a secure connection between your device and the Internet, allowing you to access sensitive data without fear of interception or theft.
Types of VPN
There are two main types of VPN available: site-to-site and client-to-server.
Site-to-site VPN is the most common type of VPN used in business environments. It allows two offices, or sites, to be connected securely over a public network such as the Internet. All devices connected can then access shared resources without fear of interception or theft.
Client-to-server VPN connects an individual’s device with a server elsewhere on the Internet. It allows users to access data stored remotely and ensures that all communication between them and their destination server is secure from potential eavesdroppers.
Why Use a VPN
In 2021 alone, the FBI recorded more than 840,000 complaints and potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion.
VPNs can be helpful for businesses in a number of ways.
Firstly, it provides an extra layer of security for data transfers between your employees and customers. If you’re using public Wi-Fi to access sensitive information such as bank accounts or customer details, a VPN encrypts so that no one else can intercept this information during transmission.
Secondly, a VPN allows remote workers to securely connect to the company network from outside the office. This means they can access files and applications remotely without worrying about their connection being compromised by hackers or other malicious actors.
Thirdly, VPNs can help you securely and anonymously access geographically restricted websites. Suppose your business needs to access content in another country unavailable in your current location due to censorship or geo-blocking. In that case, use VPN as it will allow you to bypass these restrictions and allow browsing on geo-blocked websites.
Lastly, VPNs can help prevent throttling from Internet service providers (ISPs). This is when your ISP purposely slows down your connection to certain websites or services to manage traffic on their network. By using a VPN, you can bypass this restriction and experience faster speeds when accessing certain websites or services.
How to Select the Best VPN for You
You can find various VPN providers on the market, each with different features and pricing plans. To know which VPN service is suitable for your business, you need to assess the following:
Naturally, the most important factor to consider is security. The ideal VPN should provide the highest level of encryption and authentication. These include protocols such as SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPsec, and L2TP/IPsec. And if your VPN connection drops out, it should also have a Kill Switch feature. A Kill Switch is an invaluable function that automatically disconnects your device from the Internet, so that your sensitive information remains safe.
Additionally, look for VPNs that offer extra security features like malware protection and data leak prevention.
The speed of your connection depends on the provider’s server locations and bandwidth. Make sure you select a VPN that offers fast connections and enough bandwidth to support your business needs. Also, ensure that the VPN allows unlimited data usage, so you can access large files without restrictions.
The most expensive VPNs don’t necessarily offer the best services. In the same way, free VPNs don’t automatically offer the worst. Your choice should depend on the features and services you need. If you want to save money, look for a VPN app that offers cost-effective plans or discounts for long-term subscriptions.
4. Logging Policy
It’s essential that your chosen VPN service doesn’t keep logs of your activities online. This helps to protect your data from being accessed by any third party, including the company itself.
Ideally, look for a VPN with a no-log policy or one that only stores minimal information about its users (e.g., email addresses).
5. Device Compatibility
Windows, macOS, and Linux are all supported by most VPNs, but it’s still a good practice to check. If your team members work on their mobile devices, see if your provider supports iOS or Android. or if the VPN apps can be downloaded to your mobile device.
Recommended VPN Providers
ExpressVPN: With its high level of security and privacy, ExpressVPN is considered one of the top VPN providers for businesses. There are no logs kept on the server and it uses 256-bit AES encryption. In addition, it supports a wide range of protocols and is compatible with a variety of devices.
NordVPN: The NordVPN service is another excellent choice for businesses, due to its advanced security features, such as double VPN and Tor over VPN. It also has a strict no-logs policy and offers malware protection and an ad blocker called CyberSec.
CyberGhost: Businesses can choose from a wide range of server options with CyberGhost, a user-friendly VPN provider. As well as a no-logs policy, it has advanced security features like an automatic kill switch.
Private Internet Access: There are quite a few reasons why Private Internet Access (PIA) is regarded as one of the most secure VPN providers in the world. The company offers a range of features for businesses that include multiple protocols, kill switches, and split tunneling. Furthermore, they follow a strict no-logs policy and are based in a jurisdiction that respects the privacy of its citizens.
Surfshark: Surfshark offers high-speed connections and advanced security features such as CleanWeb, MultiHop, and Whitelister for businesses. In addition, they offer a wide variety of server locations and a strict no-logs policy.
Setting up a VPN is an essential step in protecting your business from cybercriminals. By getting a VPN service, you can create a secure connection between your team’s devices and the Internet, allowing each user to access sensitive data without fear of eavesdropping or theft. With this extra layer of security, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your business and its information are safe.