Data security is more important than ever for your business, especially now that more people in the San Jose and San Francisco Bay areas are working remotely. Working from home means employees don't have access to corporate systems, which implies that your data is vulnerable to attacks.
To protect sensitive company information, you should regularly update your applications and security software, use strong passwords, and conduct regular cybersecurity training. But there’s also another practice that can help you secure your data: using virtual private networks (VPNs).
What is a VPN?
This is software that allows you to create a secure connection to a network on the internet. VPNs allow you to surf websites privately and securely, gain access to restricted websites, and overcome censorship blocks.
VPNs work by hiding users’ IP address and providing end-to-end encryption for devices connecting to the internet, effectively hiding users’ identity. Once encrypted, data becomes hidden from cybercriminals, competitors, and governments.
What are the benefits of using a VPN?
VPNs are not just becoming popular with individuals. Businesses are also adopting VPNs because of:
1. Reduced risk of data breaches and cyberattacks
Because your employees are working remotely, they can’t connect to your company’s network. This means that they will have to use unsecure networks, such as public Wi-Fi.
By using a VPN, your employees can send and receive encrypted data through a secure tunnel that cybercriminals cannot intercept, even via a public Wi-Fi network. What’s more, some VPNs can detect malware from files downloaded from the internet and prevent the user from opening them.
2. The ability to bypass geo-blocking
Some websites may not be accessible from your country because their content is made for a certain country, or contains elements that are against the law in your current location.
VPNs bypass these constraints by routing your traffic through a server in another country, hiding your real IP address, and replacing it with an IP address specific to the location you are connecting to. Most geo-restricted websites can’t tell the difference between someone in the location and a VPN user, giving you access to their website.
Businesses can subscribe to VPN providers to avail of their services. While prices may vary, you can get a VPN for as low as $10 per month, making it a worthwhile investment for your organization.
What’s more, one subscription allows you to use the VPN on multiple devices. VPNs also have a large bandwidth, so your business doesn’t have to worry about going over a data cap.
What to look for in a VPN
An ideal VPN should:
- Have flexible server locations around the world
- Be easy and straightforward to use and configure
- Use strong encryption protocols
- Offer high-speed connections
- Block data transmissions when the connection drops
Can I use free VPNs?
Some small business owners may find subscription-based VPNs expensive, leading them to use free alternatives instead. However, some free VPN providers may have hidden agendas, such as:
1. Targeted ads
Developers usually make money from free apps through advertising. Free VPNs will collect data logs from your online purchases, browsing history, and app usage, and sell them to companies for targeted advertising. This isn’t just invasive, but it also defeats the purpose of VPNs, which is to protect a user’s identity and their information.
2. Bandwidth selling
Some VPN providers will use your system to provide bandwidth to other systems. While you’re using the program to protect your data from cybercriminals, other VPN users could also be consuming your bandwidth to connect to the internet.
This holds your organization liable for any data breach. For instance, intruders could use your connection to visit illegal websites. And because their identity is hidden through a VPN, the malicious activity will be traced back to your device.
3. Data capping
Most free VPNs set a monthly limit for data consumption. This is to entice users into paying for a premium plan. This is not an ideal setup for organizations dependent on a stable internet connection with a large bandwidth and are in dire need to protect their systems
Need help in choosing the right VPN for your business? USWired has your back. Aside from preventing cyberthreats from attacking your IT infrastructure, we will also ensure round-the-clock protection. To learn more about the cybersecurity solutions your business needs, download our FREE eBook today.