A virtual private network (VPN) is a valuable defensive tool for privacy-conscious web users and security-minded businesses. And with so many companies forced to embrace the home working model, there’s never been a better time to start using one – particularly given the number of employees who rely on public wifi when out of the office.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for fledgling small businesses to work out of a coffee shop or shared workspace that relies on an unsecured open network. Or to work with freelancers whose mobility could jeopardize the SME’s valuable data. Why take the risk? Here are five reasons why your startup should invest in a quality VPN.
Protect Business and User Data
Transmitting data online, without taking the necessary precautions, can leave individuals and businesses open to data breaches and cyber attacks. This is especially true if a public wifi network is used, but possible even in a traditional office setting. Hackers employing ever more sophisticated tactics are a very real threat, with smaller enterprises seen as low-hanging fruit. With a VPN, your workforce can access apps and files and browse the internet securely, since all of their traffic is routed through servers in other locations and their IP address substituted by an alternative. By favoring robust end-to-end encryption, your valuable business data – invoices, reports, instant messages, login information, customer credit card numbers – becomes unreadable to any would-be snooper.
Secure Bank Transactions
Not everyone in your business will be in the habit of sending or receiving funds. But if you’re paying for goods and services in any capacity, and therefore entering sensitive personal and financial information, why take the risk of having such data recorded and stolen? If a major client loses money because of a breach at your end, it could spell the end of a contract that keeps your startup profitable. Sourcing a VPN solution will future-proof your reputation by protecting against fraud perpetrated against you or a client.
The great thing about VPNs is that they can be used anywhere – including on desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices. As such, you can work with a global team while being assured that your networks are secure. It also means that you can save on overheads by letting team members work remotely as and when convenient. Of course, sometimes that decision is taken out of your hands. It’s best to be prepared.
Access Geo-Blocked Sites
Some countries have much stricter internet access laws than others – Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Tunisia. While that won’t trouble most western businesses, some startups may have reason to visit such regions to negotiate contracts or source components. You might also need to access corporate resources in such a country, whereupon a VPN will help you skirt the geo-restrictions.
A VPN doesn’t just encrypt your traffic, grant you access to geo-blocked websites, and enable safer remote working. It also acts as an access control system, wherein you can authenticate and authorize users based on the job they’re doing. After all, you don’t want employees to be given carte blanche access to all sensitive information in the system. You certainly don’t want an outside contractor to be given admin access to programs and files. With a VPN, you can prevent breaches from both internal and external sources, creating, disabling and enabling VPN accounts at the touch of a button.
There you have it: five reasons to use a VPN. And that’s just a snapshot. Given the affordability of most modern VPN solutions, there’s no excuse to forego this crucial defensive cyber tool.