VPN’s or Virtual Private Networks have been part and parcel of big company life for a long time now thanks to the exceptional level of security and exclusive access they offer. In recent years, we have also seen the rise of personal VPNs. These are a pared down service that offers benefits such as the ability to disguise one’s location and encrypt personal data and browsing behaviour.
But what about those in the middle, the small business owners looking to get in on the act but who are unsure where they fit in the scheme of things? The truth is, business VPNs can be a viable investment for even very small businesses for a number of reasons.
What is a VPN? How to use a VPN? What are the benefits of using it? So many questions to ask. Fear not, this article can shed some light on what you need to know about VPN, especially the business version of it. So, today we are going to run through the mains benefits a VPN can offer to small businesses.
What is a business VPN?
A business VPN is a kind of encrypted tunnel through which employees can access your internal network and important data relating to your company. These ‘tunnel’s are formed by encrypting data on one end and decrypting it on the other so that any security breaches in between will result in nothing more than an encoded jumble of information that is of no use to anyone with criminal or nefarious intent.
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Benefit 1: Security
First on the list is the same concern that prompts both major companies and individual consumers to implement VPN services. It’s a little-known truth that even high-end anti-virus software can only combat about 25 to 30 percent of the viruses and malware circulating at any given moment. In comparison, VPN’s offer a far higher level of protection from such threats. In addition, encrypted data is secure from would-be hackers.
However, small business should also keep in mind the fact that not all data-collectors are criminals. Your competition also has a vested interest in information such as IP address activity and major corporations collect this data as a matter of course. As well as encrypting data, a VPN will also disguise your IP address and prevent such scurrilous observations.
Benefit 2: Securing networking and data exchange
In the wake of immense data breaches and cyber-attacks on tech-savvy companies such as Sony and Apple, data security is a major concern for many consumers. Small business owners have a tendency to rely on the old’ ‘I’m too small for anyone with cyber skills to bother with’ but the reality is it is exactly this kind of mentality that cyber-criminals prey upon. This is why close to 50% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at medium to small businesses. With a business VPN, you can offer secure access to employees even when they are off-site. You can also partition your network so that you can open up parts of it to temporary workers or consultants without exposing all of your data.
Benefit 3: Embrace the benefits of the gig economy without exposing your data
Last year, the small business reported increasing their use of gig workers by close to 40%. It seems that the task of hiring outside specialists for once-off tasks is now a necessary element of any small business that seeks to expand their company’s reach and capabilities while still maintaining a flexible budget.
A business VPN enables you to offer limited access to a particular part of your network, one that can be closed off with absolute security when the contract is finished. This has offered small businesses an unprecedented level of flexibility when it comes to engaging the skills of a wide range of specialists on a limited budget whilst minimizing the risk of data exposure or misuse.
Benefit 4: Minimizing the consequences of human error
Café public WiFis manage to maintain their status as a great work spot for entrepreneurs and business professionals everywhere, while also remaining the bane of any cybersecurity expert’s existence. Public WiFi networks are incredibly easy to hack. In addition, many cyber-thieves set up false hotspots at such locations as a trap, and simply wait for unsuspecting employees to log on. This can provide easy access to things like network usernames and passwords. The encrypted tunnel of a VPN eliminates this risk.
Benefit 5: Avoid censorship headaches
If you have mobile employees who regularly need to access or upload your data from abroad, a VPN can help you avoid all kinds of censorship issues. Many countries have restrictions on services such as YouTube, Gmail etc. Researching what these are for each country can be time-consuming and the consequences for violating them even through ignorance can cost time and money. A business VPN can help your business avoid all of this as it disguises all of your data even from observers operating at a state level.
These are just a few reasons to choose a VPN to protect sensitive company data and the headaches that result when using a wide open Internet connection. The savings far outweigh the small cost of adding a virtual private network to your monthly bills.