As more and more people continue to switch to remote working environments, data protection becomes more critical. When you have employees located worldwide, you never know how or where they’re connecting to the internet.
For these reasons, we highly suggest setting up a secure remote work environment using a VPN. There are many policies you can put in place, but they’ll only get you so far. Ultimately, a VPN will ensure your data is always protected.
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Let’s take a look at some reasons why secure remote access is more important than ever.
Remote Work Trends
It’s no secret that remote working is expanding. Regular work-at-home employment even outside of self-employment has grown by 173% over the past 15 years. Telecommuting has seen significant growth, and these stats only continue to verify the fact that more and more businesses are seeing the benefit of remote work.
Of course, with this change in employment comes challenges. It’s the responsibility of businesses to ensure that remote workers follow company protocol and do everything they can to protect confidential company information.
Here are a few important remote work trends to pay attention to as they pertain to cybersecurity.
A Change in Working Environment
When businesses allow their employees to work from home, they’re essentially permitting them to work from anywhere, and people are taking advantage of this. When we think of the traditional “remote worker,” we think of someone rolling out of bed, grabbing their laptop, and working in bed all day in their pajamas.
That’s not always the case, though.
People work in different countries, in coffee shops, at beaches, at a family member’s house, and in much more unique locations. How can business owners ensure that their data is protected when they have no idea where the employee will access the internet?
Businesses do this by requiring employees to have a dedicated working space, but that takes away some of the benefits of working from home. Employees and especially freelancers crave the freedom to work from wherever they want, and that’s why many opt to work from home.
If business owners force their workers to set up a cubicle in their home, they might as well come into the office and work. It could turn away potential talent.
Offices May Never Return to “Normal”
Keep in mind that during the time of COVID-19, so many businesses switched from in-office to remote working conditions. What do you think these business giants were doing during that time?
Yes, they’re figuring out ways to make this work permanently. Less overhead and reduced operating costs sound good to the business owner who no longer needs a huge centralized location.
Business owners realize that they can get just as much work done without having employees in the office, so they’re repurposing the office space to be a location where important meetings are held and less for everyday work.
In fact, businesses are continuing to recruit remote workers because they see the potential benefit of a more flexible working environment. Some employees are more productive when they’re working from home because they feel like they need to convince their boss that they can still get their work done even though they’re not in the office.
Remote Working Best Practices
We’ve stated that one of the biggest challenges for business owners regarding remote work is data protection. With digital working environments on the rise, this factor becomes more and more important each day.
As for the role of the business owner, there are a few things you can do to help your employees understand how important it is to develop a secure remote working environment. Even if they’re working on the beach or sitting outside the pool, anything could happen.
Here are some best practices to teach your employees as they transition out of the office:
Expect The Worst
The biggest mistake we make is remaining ignorant of the fact that real threats exist. Many people do this with their health as well. We assume that nothing will happen to us, so we don’t have to worry about it.
That’s a mistake. Whatever can happen may happen to you, and the consequences are dire if you lose important customer information or it gets leaked into the wrong hands.
Even if you do a great job of securing your “on-premise” operations, you can throw all of that out the window when you’re allowing people to work from anywhere. You never know what connection they’re on, who else is on it, and what the risks are.
Regardless, you cannot ignore the fact that vulnerabilities are there, and it’s your responsibility to set up a secure environment for your employees no matter where they decide to call home.
Create Clear Policies
Having straightforward policies in place will help ensure that more people follow the rules and abide by your guidelines. You need to outline important factors like:
- Use of personal devices when working remotely
- Which data employees have on personal devices
- What employees can do with their “working” computers
- How employees should handle potential attacks
Of course, these four points will only get you so far because you must have a secure connection to begin with. Operating with a VPN is the only way to ensure that your employees have a secure connection. Once you’ve done that, it will make it easier for the team to deploy these procedures, and it should provide you with some peace of mind.
Use an Encrypted Connection
Having an encrypted connection is critical to a safe remote working environment. You never know who has access to the information, and having policies will only get you so far. At some point, you need to realize that there are malicious attackers out there who will do everything and anything they can to get your private data.
Data encryption is the best policy because the information is often intercepted as it makes its way from one connection to the other.
So, if all your company data is encrypted, even if a malicious attacker attempts to gain access to something you send, it’s encrypted, and they can’t read it anyway.
You also can’t forget the factor of human error. What if an employee loses a company device or leaves it somewhere? You never know who will pick that up and what their intentions will be.
These are factors that both business owners and employees alike don’t think about when considering remote-work as an option.
The best way to use an encrypted connection is with a VPN. If you require all employees in remote-working situations to communicate and send information using a VPN, all of that data is encrypted, and no one else can see it. Choosing the right VPN is a whole different issue, which we’ll cover shortly.
The “principle of least privilege” ensures that only people who “need” access to something have that access. Other than that, everyone else is blocked and unable to see, change, or send that information.
Taking the easy way out and allowing access to all company resources might seem like a simpler solution, but it’s a huge security risk that you need to avoid whenever possible. While the principle of least privilege might require a little more work, it’s worth it in the long run, and it’s a lot less work than trying to recover corrupted data.
Why Businesses with Remote Teams Need a VPN
We touched on this a little but let’s discuss in more detail the importance of using a VPN for remote work. While having policies, using work hardware for work, and limiting personal device usage is important, all of that is useless if malicious attackers are waiting to prey on your vital information.
If you’re on the fence about making it a policy to have everyone use a VPN, here are some of the reasons why you should consider it:
It’s More Affordable
If you’re staring down the cost of a VPN for business and wondering if it’s entirely necessary, we have to say it’s much more affordable than having employees in the office. When you factor in things like electricity, space, and additional hardware, the cost of a VPN is minuscule.
It’s well worth the investment to ensure that everyone working remotely is doing so safely and securely.
We don’t often like to think about the potential downsides of not having a VPN, but they can be pretty severe. Losing personal information can not only affect you, but it can impact your clients, leading to legal issues if you lose something important.
Even worse, ransomware is a real threat where hackers control the private information on your servers and only give it back if you pay a ransom. The ransom could be thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and there are no guarantees that you’ll ever get it back.
Operating with a VPN ensures that no one can access your information because all your data moves through a private tunnel. It then reaches the destination site, processes the information, and then comes back to you through that encrypted tunnel again.
It’s also important to mention some benefits of VPNs that don’t entirely apply to security and privacy. If you have workers in your business traveling all over the world, you never know what country they might be in. As a result, they may not have access to certain information, apps, extensions, or data based on their location.
The country that immediately comes to mind is China, which has extremely strict laws when it comes to internet browsing. Other countries have similarly strict laws regarding data and open internet browsing.
By providing them with a secure connection through a VPN, you’re increasing their chances of being able to access all the necessary work information regardless of where they’re located on the globe.
What Is a VPN for Business?
A VPN or virtual private network is a tool that businesses and individuals use to create an encrypted connection between user devices and their servers. VPNs connect users to the company’s internal network using the public internet with a secure connection, so the business owner doesn’t have to worry about data leaks or breaches.
A business may use a VPN for internal communication in the form of encrypted email or chat communication, but once an employee steps outside the building, they’re responsible for finding their own secure internet connection.
For that reason, business owners must understand the importance of using VPNs for business when dealing with remote working situations. There are two different types of business VPNs:
Remote Access VPNs
A remote-access VPN creates a connection using an individual computer and a remote network such as the business’s internal network. They have two primary components:
Network Access Server – This is a dedicated network that uses a piece of software that is installed on the business’s internal network.
VPN Client – This software gets installed on the user’s computer or device instead of the business.
So, the main difference between the two types of remote access VPNs is how the business and user install them. One is on the home servers and encrypts all that information. The other is on the part of the individual worker and gets installed on their devices.
A site-to-site VPN creates one virtual network that can be shared across multiple sites, each with its own users. For example, the VPN might be hosted in each office, and all the employees of these offices can share information from one to the other securely.
Once you leave the office, though, you lose the secure connection, so you would need to either provide a remote access VPN or put it on the back of the employees to find their own secure connection.
Key Features of the Ideal VPN Software
Now that you understand what a VPN is and how important it is for your remote working team, let’s look at some of the most important features.
As you’re going through the VPN for business reviews below, you can come back and compare each one to see, which offers the highest number of features.
Some business VPNs offer thousands of server locations, while others only have a few dozen. This is important for a few reasons. First, the more server locations you have, the higher potential you have for faster speeds.
You have to think of it like this. You only have so much bandwidth, and if you can spread the users out across more servers, you’ll create less congestion and, ultimately, faster server speeds.
A large variety of servers also offers access to people in more locations. Let’s say you have a large number of remote workers in the Philippines. Having a ton of servers in the US and Canada will not be beneficial because it will take a lot of juice for the people overseas to access those servers.
The result will be slower speeds. So, having a lot of servers in many locations ensures that every employee or team member has access to a nearby server no matter where they are.
Lastly, a large server portfolio says a little bit about the company itself. A VPN provider with a lot of servers typically means that the company has been around for a long time, so they likely have a strong reputation; otherwise, they wouldn’t be in business for so long.
This does have one caveat, though. Having a large number of servers means the company has to manage more of them, which could mean more downtime and lower quality servers on a case to case basis.
This feature is critical when dealing with remote teams because you need to ensure that all communication and data transfer is secure.
It’s one thing to have a secure connection when you’re sitting at the computer for eight to ten hours a day, but what about when an employee replies to an email or sends a link outside of work hours while having dinner at a restaurant?
Chances are, they’re doing this on mobile data, which can open the door to hackers and people who are trying to steal company information.
While it’s crucial to have policies, you need a VPN that works for iOS, Android, and, frankly, as many platforms as possible.
The kill switch is a feature that will kill your internet connection in the event that you lose protection from the VPN. This can happen for a variety of reasons, so whenever it happens, the kill switch will drop your internet, so your IP doesn’t get exposed.
Most VPNs offer this feature, but some don’t, so we would highly recommend looking for VPNs with the kill switch.
No Logging Policy
Logging is when the VPN provider documents your information and stores it for marketing and other purposes. While this isn’t a huge issue for businesses who are simply trying to conduct business privately, we think it’s still important that a VPN has a no-logging policy, and here’s why.
Let’s say a malicious group is trying to track you down because they think you have the information they want. They can’t do so because you’re using a VPN, following protocol, and doing your best to keep everything secure.
Instead, they go after the VPN provider to find that information. They’re able to break into user information from the VPN provider’s end and gather a ton of potentially dangerous data about you. That will make it much easier for them to get into your private cloud-based servers and get the data you’ve been trying to withhold.
Because the VPN provider is collecting information about your team’s browsing history, transactions, addresses, phone numbers, and more, it makes it easier for hackers to access that information.
We’ll come right out and say that you won’t get unlimited bandwidth from most VPN providers, so what we’re saying is, get as close as you can for the lowest price possible. Some VPNs will charge based on the amount of bandwidth you use, others offer a tiered structure, and some just have one basic plan, and that’s that.
Regardless of how much you need, get the biggest package possible or at least go with a VPN that offers the growth potential. If you’re in the early stages of your business, you might not have that many employees on the VPN, but as you grow, you’ll need more bandwidth to conduct business at the speeds you want.
If your VPN sets a limit on the amount of bandwidth and doesn’t offer a way for you to increase that, you’ll have the change providers, which will create a huge bottleneck and a whole lot of stress on your end.
Do Small Businesses Need a VPN?
Before we dive into the reviews for our eight favorite small business VPNs, we want to clarify the importance of having one in your business. Security is important but what’s most important is protecting your investment.
You likely invest a lot of time and money into your business, and you have the right to private ownership over the information necessary to conduct your day to day operations. While all of this might sound complicated, it’s not as difficult as it seems, and once you see some of the VPN examples below, you’ll realize that it’s well worth it.
8 VPN Solutions for Business
Now let’s look at eight of our top solutions for business VPNs. These all meet most of the criteria recommended above, so you’re sure to find something to like about all of these. As you go through them, go back and compare them to our recommended features to see which one checks the most boxes.
Let’s start by looking at Perimeter81. First off, this is one of the only VPNs that was created strictly for use in businesses. It offers a safe and user-friendly connection for both enterprise-level and small businesses.
They’re dedicated to business because they don’t do things like unblock Netflix or allow for torrenting like a “jack of all trades” VPN would.
The VPN is based in Israel, and they offer a unique Cloud VPN infrastructure that eliminates the need for any type of external hardware. You can add private servers, dedicated IPs, and assign them to remote teams.
You can do all of this while Perimeter81 encrypts all the traffic to protect your resources. You can also create different groups and levels of permission to ensure that only the people who need certain data can access that data. There’s a lot to love about this VPN, and at first glance, it seems like a great choice for smart business owners.
Perimeter81 works with almost all devices, including iOS, Blackberry, and Android. This is highly important if your business has a BYOD policy because you’ll need to make sure that the VPN works with whatever devices your team may have.
Best of all, they have a one-click install for most of these devices, which makes it super easy if you’re dealing with a remote team. All you need to do is send them the link, and they can install it to their device and get it up and running within minutes.
Connections and Servers
Perimeter81 does offer a list of public servers that spreads across 36 countries, which is fantastic. This means that no matter where someone in your business is located, they should be able to access the VPN and use it with somewhat reliable speeds.
That said, the speed tests we researched for Perimeter81 were less than desirable. Many compare it to a “rollercoaster” because you never know whether you’re going to land on a fast or slow server.
Even when signed on to servers close to their location, users experienced slow speeds that could fluctuate day by day. This can slow down your operations, turning into dollar signs when you start to compare remote to in-office working.
The good news is that Perimeter81 is always adding servers to their portfolio, so these issues can change over time.
“By accessing, viewing, and/or otherwise using the Site and Service, you consent to:
(ii) To the transfer of such Information outside of the country where you reside in and outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”), to other countries for storage, processing, and use by us, and to the transmission of data on an international basis.”
That paragraph is from the consent section. Let’s break it down.
So, you agree to have them collect, transfer, manipulate, store, and disclose your information by using their service. That’s a lot, and we’ve read through many privacy policies, and few are this blatant about the fact that they’re going to take your information and use it.
By using Perimeter81, you also agree to allow them to take your data and send it overseas for whatever reason. Not good.
We’re, of course, not going to pull out each bit of concerning information from this policy, but they continue on to say that they store email addresses, company name, contact details, admin actions, team member actions such as timestamps, server information, and even original IP addresses on private gateways.
Plus, they use a third-party payment processor for you to pay, so it would be easy for people to access that information as well.
Perimeter81 offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is always nice, and they have three different plans to choose from.
Their Essentials plan is a little less than the premium plan per month if you sign up for an annual contract, and it requires you to have a minimum of five users. Their premium plan is only $3.00 more, billed annually, and it requires at least ten users. The price range is right around what we would expect, and it’s comparable to many other VPN providers.
NordVPN is one of the most popular names in the cybersecurity realm. You’ve likely heard of their virus protection software, but they also offer a multifaceted VPN service with many different layers. One of these includes their VPNs for business.
This product is called NordVPN “Teams,” and it’s a cloud-based VPN that offers a simple and secure connection from anywhere to one of the most trusted brands in cybersecurity.
With Nord Teams, you can access corporate data remotely, manage remote teams, organize employees into different authority levels, and control the whole network from one location. Nord also allows you to protect everything with one invoice for the whole team, so you don’t have to add new payment information each time you add a user.
Overall, Nord Teams seems like a solid option but let’s break down more of the details.
Being that Nord is such a big name, we would expect big things in terms of what devices you can use, and for the most part, they hold up their end of the bargain. Nord Teams is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, which should do the trick in most scenarios.
They also offer third-party authentication, so you don’t need to set up a new set of credentials for each person that you add. This makes the process of signing in and using the VPN much simpler and faster.
Connections and Servers
As we would expect, Nord Teams offers a robust portfolio of servers spanning 33 countries, but most of the servers are located throughout Europe. In terms of speed and reliability, you can’t beat them. Nord offers reliable connections and smooth performance, no matter where your team is, which creates a lot of confidence in the business owner.
With Nord, you don’t have to worry about employees traveling and doing what they love because they’ll always have reliable access to work information and communication no matter where they are.
Since 2018, Nord has conducted regular audits on their system to verify their no-logging policy’s legitimacy. They use two third-party audits to prove that they don’t monitor your internet activity or keep logs of any information, and everything checks out pretty well.
PricewaterhouseCooper was responsible for the audit, and after evaluating Nord, they determined that everything checks out for Nord.
This is important because it shows that Nord is trustworthy and willing to lay it all out on the line for business owners and individuals alike. From a business standpoint, this is a VPN you would want to trust with your confidential information.
Nord Teams is priced differently than some of the competition because they base it on the user. This structure can add up extremely fast compared to Perimeter81, which offers their VPN as a package deal.
Nord Teams most affordable tier is their basic plan and just $1.00 more for the advanced plan. Based on what the basic plan offers, we would suggest going with the advanced plan because you gain access to priority support, and you can choose which servers you want to use.
Just keep in mind how this can add up quickly if you have a lot of people on the VPN. It’s going to be much more expensive than Perimeter81 in the long run, but at least you don’t have to worry about logging.
Windscribe is a well-recommended VPN containing unique and powerful features for the individual user. They continue to find ways to impress with the addition of their business-related product, ScribeForce.
Even though it sounds like a game you’d download on the Google Play store, it’s a way for remote teams to remain private, secure, and encrypted when communicating and sending sensitive information across the country via the internet.
Device Compatibility – ScribeForce is compatible with the following devices:
They also have simple and easy to use clients for all of these devices that make it feasible for remote workers without a lot of VPN knowledge to get started without needing an IT professional around to help them.
Connections and Servers – So far, ScribeForce offers the largest portfolio of servers with locations in 63 countries and 110 cities. You’re sure to find a server that works for you because of how spread out they are, and based on our research and experience, their speed and connection is relatively strong because of how spread out they are.
ROBERT – This is a special artificial intelligence that blocks certain IPs and domains across all the devices. This is so important for remote working because you can gain a little control over what employees do on company time.
Strong Encryption – In addition to AES-256, they also have SHA512 authentication with a 4096-bit RSA key. Out of all the options we’ve provided, Windscribe offers the highest level of encryption.
Static IPs– We like this feature for business because it means that each computer on the network will keep the same IP. This will help prevent the computer from getting blacklisted on the server, which will create fewer bottlenecks and issues over time.
ScribeForce offers centralized billing, which makes it simple for you to keep track of everything, team management features, and all the features outlined above.
Their plan is much cheaper than Nord, and honestly, we think ScribeForce offers more features than Nord as well. The only thing you’re not getting is the extremely strong no-logging policy, but everything checked out okay with Windscribe as well.
VyprVPN offers business cloud solutions to help businesses conduct their operations more securely when dealing with a remote working environment. Something we like right away is the fact that they offer a dedicated business VPN server, which means that the business gets its own piece of the pie.
So, compared to all the other VPNs we’ve looked at so far, with Vypr, you have your own server for your business, and no one else can access it. This usually results in faster speeds and improved security because you’re not having people from all over the world joining the server with you.
But this usually comes with a price tag, so we’re interested to see if VyprVPN can offer enough features to make the price worth it.
Let’s take a look at some of the standout features of VyprVPN:
Device Support – As with most of the VPNs mentioned in this review, you can use all necessary business devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more.
Quick Deploy – VyprVPN makes it simple and fast for you to get started with an easy to use interface for both business owners and employees.
Kill Switch – They offer a kill switch, which is a standard security feature that we always look for in the best VPNs.
It may seem like VyprVPN doesn’t offer as many features as some of the other options, but there’s a reason for this. Since it’s a dedicated server, you don’t have to worry as much about security, speed, and reliability because you’re not sharing this with anyone.
The main thing we were concerned about was pricing, but honestly, it’s not too bad in comparison. VyprVPN pricing packages are billed annually, and you’ll have to contact them to put together a package.
That said, when you’re paying per month, per person, the numbers can quickly add up, and while an affordable per month deal like ScribeForce sounds great, you’d be surprised how “not-scalable” that structure is compared to this.
Four More Business VPN Solutions
We highly recommend the previous four options like our “best” choices for business, but we wanted to include four more so you have some comparables. Let’s take a look.
EncryptMe for Teams
Encrypt Me offers both a team-based VPN solution as well as an individual option. Their VPN for teams makes it easy to manage cloud-based teams, and they provide a simple cost structure that helps you scale up your security while growing your business.
On their site, you’ll actually notice that they include a slider that allows you to choose how many team members you have, and that’s how they structure their pricing. This is great for new or growing businesses that will be consistently adding new people over time.
The price goes down per person as you increase the number of employees. If you have five team members, it will cost per person, or you can pay a flat rate per-month total for the whole team. We think this structure keeps things simple and makes it easy to understand.
Here is a list of the standout features offered by Encrypt Me for Teams:
- Security for the whole team
- Easy team management
- Apps for every platform
- Private endpoints
- Content filtering
- 24/7 support
- 70 locations in 40 countries
VPNUnlimited for Teams
VPN Unlimited offers an intuitive user interface that’s easy for those unfamiliar with VPNs. Their “User Office,” as they call it, makes it simple for you as the business owner to get everyone set up with the VPN so you can start putting it to use.
This VPN also offers cross-platform usage on most devices, including iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and more. The company claims not to keep any logs, and based on our research, the only information they collect is necessary for the performance of their VPN so they can find weak spots in their product.
The thing we like most about VPN Unlimited is how easy they make it for the business owner. A lot of these VPNs do a lot to help the employees and users, but very few make it as simple for the person in charge, and this one goes the extra mile to keep things simple and efficient for you.
Here’s a list of the standout features offered by VPN Unlimited:
- AES-256 encryption
- Choice of VPN protocols
- DNS firewall
- Two-factor authentication
- Static IPs
- Personal VPN servers
- Kill Switch
Tunnelbear makes managing a remote team safe and secure with proactive security alerts sent directly to your phone. Anytime there’s the potential of a security risk, Tunnelbear will let the user know, and they’ll also inform you of the issue so you can address it right away.
Equally as important, they offer plenty of choices for connections, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. Each comes with AES-256 bit encryption and ways to prevent DNS leaks and potential security attacks.
This VPN also offers a slider similar to Encrypt Me that makes it simple to understand how users impact the price. But, it does appear that Tunnelbear is much more expensive than Encrypt Me based on the slider. But, to get an accurate representation of what you should expect to pay, you’ll have to contact them to develop a plan.
Here’s a list of the standout features offered by Tunnelbear:
- No logging
- Launch at startup
- Vigilant Mode
- Servers in 23 countries
- AES-256 bit encryption
Speedify for Teams
Speedify believes that it’s important to have protection for your whole team, but you can’t afford to sacrifice speed in exchange for privacy. Speedify for Teams offers fast, reliable, and secure VPN technology, and in addition to the standard features they provide, you also get an analytics dashboard that helps you manage HTTP requests.
The one thing that stands out right away is the fact that you get unlimited users with a low starting price-point. You can add as many people as you want to the plan without worrying about the price going up. This sounds great, but of course, it does have its downsides.
As you add more people to an unlimited plan, they typically don’t provide you with bandwidth increases, so you’ll eventually end up slowing down your connection as you continue to add more seats to the unlimited plan.
Here’s a list of standout features offered by Speedify:
- Large server portfolio
- Internet speed boost
- Unlimited seats
- Affordable price
- Strict no-logging policy
So, what do you think? Do you think it’s time to get a VPN for your business? If you do, we highly recommend choosing one of the options above. These are some of the best options; they’re secure, safe, fast, and reliable.
Choosing the right VPN for your business is crucial because the repercussions of choosing the wrong one can be dire. We scoured the internet to find the most frequently asked questions regarding business VPNs. We have answered them here: