Is a VPN vital for SMBs?

Is a VPN vital for SMBs?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that encrypts your data as it travels across the internet, and it’s one of the most important security solutions today. According to Statista, the number of VPN users has grown by a whopping 165% between 2017 and 2018. With cybercrime damages predicted to hit $6 trillion by 2021, this rise in usage is no surprise.

VPNs are an effective stepping stone towards tighter security, whether for personal or business use. Small- and medium-sized businesses, in particular, can expect several key benefits from implementing VPNs.

Dodge restrictions

A primary advantage of using VPNs is their ability to bypass geographical restrictions. VPNs allow users to choose their internet connection from a wide range of countries, helping them access websites and online platforms from a specific location.

This means an employee traveling overseas can still maintain an internet connection from their home country, granting them access to media, eCommerce platforms, and online bank accounts that may not be accessible from another region.

A VPN will thus be useful for maintaining business while abroad, as well as accessing online services and media from other parts of the globe.

Use public Wi-Fi safely

If employees have no choice but to access company data through a public connection, a VPN can effectively shield them from malicious actors.

Public Wi-Fi networks are rife with hackers looking to intercept data, but since they’re an often convenient choice when on the go, it’s easy to forget the importance of privacy. With a trusted VPN, workers can take advantage of this convenience while keeping confidential data safe.

These services keep data connections encrypted no matter what network you use, rendering them unreadable even when accessed by hackers.

Enable remote access

Company servers hold exclusive resources for conducting everyday business, such as online applications hosted on their server or important documents shared on a hard drive.

With a VPN, employees can easily access your company network while working remotely or connecting to public Wi-Fis. This provides greater convenience among telecommuters, and allows for easier, more efficient collaboration among remote teams. At the same time, it provides your company data the protection it needs when it's being remotely accessed or transmitted online.

Having immediate, secure access to business data out of the office helps in maintaining operations and productivity, especially during unforeseen circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Improve your overall privacy and user experience

Finally, having a VPN generally improves your employees’ (and by extension, your business’s) overall privacy and online user experience.

Studies show that 60% of businesses who suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months, so upgrading your security is vital to your company’s survival. Among popular tactics such as firewall protection, antivirus software, and good password hygiene, VPNs grant your small business that much-needed extra layer of encryption security.

Additionally, VPNs have the potential to improve your employees’ online experience. A quality service can offer valuable features such as data compression, helping stabilize network connections while using applications on the move. This can be especially useful for communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Choosing your VPN

Now that we’ve laid out the benefits of VPNs, it helps to keep the following qualities in mind when choosing a trusted provider:

  • Support across platforms. A good VPN will support a wide range of desktop and mobile devices, from Apple and iOS gadgets to BlackBerry and Linux devices. Flexible platform support is must, especially for workplaces with a bring your own device policy.
  • High-grade security. When choosing your VPN, protection should be your utmost priority. Ensure your service supports 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN, and provides administrative account and user management.
  • Stability. Avoid unnecessary business downtime by opting for a reputable VPN with stable, reliable service. You’ll also want to ensure that your VPN has a wide range of servers to choose from, each providing fast internet speeds. A quality VPN may even offer a speed test to help users choose a server with optimum performance.

Cybercrimes don’t discriminate — whether you’re a large enterprise or a small start-up company, your data is at constant risk of malicious activity. For further advice on selecting the right VPN for your business, get in touch with one of NetQuest’s security experts today. We offer both small- and medium-sized businesses a wide range of security solutions, including network security, virus protection, and data security management. Contact us today to learn more.

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