The growing online market has presented never-before-seen challenges for businesses of all sizes. Freight, transportation, communication, and security too have been affected.
While large multinational companies have whole sectors devoted to solving such problems on their own, the vast majority of small and medium businesses have to find solutions that are already available around.
One of the solutions was found in using virtual private networks (VPN for short), to solve at least part of the IT problems presented in recent decades, but also to gain an edge against the competition.
This technology for encapsulating and transmitting data has received a lot of criticism in recent times because of its misuse for illegal downloading, but the benefits for businesses still remain and continue to be of great help.
So if you’re in the need of one, let’s see what features you should be on the lookout for.
Is Your Business Ready for It?
Depending on what your business is about and what are you going to need it for, answers this question. Very important here is also figuring out what you don’t need because extra features that you’ll never use will add cost and complexity, without true need.
That’s why the best starting way to choose the right VPN is to look at services and features that your business needs and avoid unnecessary bonuses.
Your business needs a VPN if you see next services as a necessity or advancement in order to function or protect business data:
- Securing access to the company’s resources and cloud services.
- Protecting sensitive information while out of the office.
- Protecting against data collection by ISPs or foreign governments.
- Providing account management, central billing, malware protection.
Cost of Setting up and Maintaining a Network
When setting up a virtual private network there are several options you can pursue. Those who are versatile in the world of information technology, or have an internal IT department supporting them, may opt to set up and maintain their own network.
This is, of course, a huge task and is usually reserved only for some medium and larger companies, that have hundreds of employees. Such an infrastructural project could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
The more common option is to use the services of a VPN provider, that is – specialized companies that manage both the communication and the server hosting where all the data is stored.
Such an expense can be as little as a few tens of dollars per year, though with some discounts like we see at https://www.swagbucks.com/shop/nordvpn-coupons it can be even lower.
As smaller companies usually don’t have the logistics needed to support their own network, and the cost of hiring IT experts, buying hardware and software is too much to bear, it makes sense to approach a reputable provider if you have such low prices available.
Types of VPN
VPN providers will differentiate several types of networks, and while it is mostly a thing of semantics it is still worthwhile knowing what they are and asking if they cater to those needs specifically:
- Remote Access
This is the most common type of network you can find around. It basically functions in a way that the user is, cryptically, connected to a secure remote server from where they can access a private network.
Commercial VPN services usually base all of their business on this type, as they are the owners of the aforementioned remote servers, so you can access information that would otherwise be restricted to you, for whatever reason.
This type is very beneficial for personal use and some smaller companies, though anything larger and it becomes a hassle to use and supervise.
- Intranet-based site-to-site
- Extranet based site-to-site
This type is more common in large business enterprises as it provides physically distant users to access the same server or resources.
Start-ups that are also working over the internet and have workers from all over the world will benefit from this.
If you are working on a big project for a larger company, one that will need more than a few exchanged emails, you will be interested in the extranet s-t-s variant, where two independent intranets need to be connected but cannot access the other one directly.
Activity Management and Tracking
Don’t forget that the main focus of having a VPN should be supporting the business, not individual users and although you are considering providing VPN access to your employees, think how much time managing will be needed to keep track of their activities online and if those activities (such as streaming and sharing on social media) are affecting time management and security, for that matter.
One of the ways to have this regulated and under control is by using business management software that’s magnificently useful in managing almost all work processes especially if your business grows and you find various business tasks and processes are draining time and budget and workforce.
These software tools help in expansion and efficiency by organizing operations, saving time, and reducing the number of employees needed to carry out certain tasks.
On the other hand, some business VPNs have a service called activity management that controls the web activities of employees (similar to a parental control) with alerting and reporting if someone tries to reach inadequate websites, which contain malware and logging in options with sharing data.
Finally, as the main part of a VPN service provider is hosting a server from where you can access remote data – the most important factor you should look into is exactly this.
But no provider is ready to give you its business secrets and capacity so you should either ask for a contract where a certain amount of information or internet speed is guaranteed or ask other users what their experience with the service is.
VPN services have become very important for PC security technology and your business shouldn’t ignore the benefits.
If your company needs such a boost in both security and communication it is high time you get in touch with either one of the providers or get yourself an IT department and some hardware capable of doing it yourself.