Small Business IT Service and the Case for VPN’s
When evaluating your small business IT Service needs, installing antivirus software and setting up strong passwords can no longer be a solution for your small business IT security. With your online activity accessible to internet service providers, various third parties and hackers, using a virtual private network (VPN), particularly when remotely accessing a company network, becomes critical to keeping your information secure .
What’s a VPN?
A VPN creates a secure “tunnel” between whatever device you are using and the websites you visit on the internet. Once you’ve established your connection to a VPN server, your computer operates as if it’s using the same local connection as the VPN, making it seem as if you’re in another location and on a local network. And as far as the internet is concerned, a VPN treats your browsing as though it is coming from that server’s geographical location, not the actual location of your computer.
When an employee surfs the web through the VPN, all data that is transmitted and received is encrypted. This prevents everyone from hackers to government agencies from being able to monitor your online activities.
Why have a VPN?
Simply put, your company’s network and data security and privacy are the main reasons. For example, if you’re connected to a public network such as the ones offered at cafes and airports, using a VPN encrypts the information you’re sending or accessing online and makes it so no one can spy on your activites or intercept data. Why is this so important? If you are using credit card details, login credentials with passwords, private conversations, or emailing sensitive documents, they can’t be intercepted by a third party.
VPNs are also useful for gaining access to geographically restricted websites. If you’re traveling abroad and some US websites are blocked in that region, if you have a VPN located in the U.S. you can connect to it to easily and securely access the sites you need.
Which VPN Should I Choose?
VPNs are surging in popularity due to the increasing demand for secure online privacy particularly since the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for many companies to have staff work remotely. These are some of the main considerations to look at when choosing the right VPN for your small business IT Service.
While there are free VPN’s out there, we suggest avoiding those as they often record your internet activity for resale to data brokers or worse, in some cases, to cybercriminals. Maintaining a VPN service is not cheap, which means the free ones will also likely bombard you with advertisements making your online experience unpleasant and much less efficient. Paid VPN’s offer more features and configurations that enhance security. Prices differ based upon the VPN’s features and subscription terms. The method of payment is also important. Some of the better VPNs offer anonymous payment systems like Bitcoin or gift cards to avoid giving out any personal information.
The physical location of VPN servers is important if you want to access sites that are blocked in certain regions. So if you’re planning on accessing a U.S.-based service or website, your VPN provider must at least have servers located in the United States. Many VPN’s are located in multiple facilities around the U.S. or even in differing countries.
- Data Usage
Examine the VPN provider’s terms of service to determine how much data you can use. You should also find out how many servers a VPN provider has. If they have a good number of servers, you can most likely trust that they have the capacity to support your online requirements.
Another important factor to consider is whether the VPN can be used with a variety of device types. Today most companies have employees working on laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets, so you’ll want a VPN that’s compatible with each of these types of devices.
- IP Gaps
Beyond the fundamental features of the VPN, there are other possible issues with some VPN’s such as leaky tunnels, meaning there are ways to penetrate the VPN and your IP address could be tracked. One way to evaluate a VPN service is to sign up for a free trial and then test for gaps by using https://www.ipleak.com/. If it tracks your physical location, you should look for a more reliable VPN service.
VPNs are a critical component of your small business IT service cybersecurity. Please note that VPN’s should always be set up and configured by an IT service professional. If you are curious as to whether or not a VPN would be good for your company or need help finding a solid VPN solution for your South Florida small business, contact User Friendly Technology Services today.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Linked In