In today’s hyper-connected world, with cybersecurity threats constantly rising, the need for online privacy and security is paramount. More individuals and businesses rely on the Internet for work, communication, collaboration, and data exchange.
That’s why using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect sensitive information is becoming more popular. While personal and business VPNs serve the same fundamental purpose of safeguarding online activities, they differ in several key ways.
Whether you’re looking to protect your personal data or secure your company’s sensitive information, it’s important to understand the difference between business and personal VPNs. Knowing each solution’s features will help you make the right choice for your online security requirements.
VPNs encrypt user data as it moves across the internet, making it unreadable to third parties. For individual users, that means more privacy and less worry about bad actors snooping or intercepting data. Personal VPNs should have a no-logs policy which means they don’t collect or store logs of a user’s online activities.
The privacy focus for business VPNs typically extends beyond the considerations for individual users. Organizations use VPNs to provide employees with remote access to company resources while securing sensitive data, such as proprietary information, financial data, and customer data, from unauthorized access or interception.
Business VPNs encrypt data transmitted over the VPN between user devices and company resources, which helps to prevent data leaks or breaches. However, using a business VPN for personal use isn’t recommended because, unlike personal VPNs, corporate VPNs monitor and keep logs of individual user activities while connected to the network.
While personal VPNs cater to a single user, business VPNs accommodate multiple users within an organization. This can range from a small team at a startup to a large enterprise with hundreds or thousands of employees.
The number of connected devices depends on the VPN provider and the subscription plan. On a personal VPN, users can often connect up to 10 devices but may be limited to one at a time. Corporate VPNs are usually more flexible, allowing multiple devices to connect simultaneously.
Personal VPN setup is relatively simple. First, download and install the VPN software, which is compatible with most operating systems and devices. Then configure settings like server selection, protocol, and other preferences according to your needs. Connecting to the VPN is as simple as launching the software, selecting a server location, and clicking “Connect” to establish a secure VPN connection.
Business VPNs are more complex than personal VPNs. A corporate VPN might operate in the cloud, or it could be a designated on-premises appliance. An administrator will configure security protocols, user accounts, access permissions, and other network settings based on the organization’s requirements.
Next, the IT team must install VPN client software on devices connecting to the VPN. Then users can launch the VPN client software or app, enter their credentials or other required information, and connect to the VPN.
Personal VPN users take care of their own installation and account setup. It’s also up to the user to keep the software current with the latest patches and updates. Personal VPN users may need to troubleshoot issues independently or seek assistance from the VPN service provider’s support team.
Since business VPNs are designed for organizations, they typically offer features like centralized management and user authentication. They may also offer additional features such as reporting, auditing, and user activity tracking, which administrators can use to monitor and manage user accounts. Designated administrators with the proper authority can create, manage, and revoke user accounts as needed.
Typically, businesses hire a third-party Managed Service Provider (MSP) to implement and maintain their VPN. The MSP will handle software updates, security patches, and overall network maintenance to ensure smooth and secure VPN operations.
Personal and business VPNs handle IP addresses differently. Personal VPNs typically provide shared IP addresses, where multiple users connect to the same VPN server and share the same IP address. This can help provide a level of anonymity, as it makes it more difficult for websites or online services to track individual users based on their IP address.
However, it also means that the IP address may be used by other users, which can potentially impact performance or result in IP address blacklisting if other users engage in malicious activities.
However, business VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses, where an organization is assigned a specific IP address for their exclusive use. Dedicated IP addresses can provide more consistent performance and reliability for your business.
Personal VPNs providers typically own and operate servers in various geographic locations worldwide. These servers encrypt and decrypt data and route data between the user’s device and the destination server or website. They can also allow users to change their virtual location and bypass geo-restrictions – the perfect solution for watching Netflix content unavailable in your country.
In contrast, business VPNs strategically choose server locations to provide users with optimal performance, reliability, and privacy. The specific locations of business VPN servers can vary depending on factors such as the service provider’s headquarters, data center locations, and the target audience or customer base.
Some organizations may still use legacy VPN hardware in their own data centers. Since these are only available in one or two locations, reliance on these systems may lead to backhauling traffic and potential bottlenecks.
Alternatively, businesses using cloud-based VPN servers can access data centers in major cities or regions with robust internet infrastructure, where they can establish fast and reliable connections to the internet. Business VPNs may also offer dedicated servers or custom server configurations to meet the unique requirements of each organization, such as enhanced security features or customized access controls.
The cost of personal and business VPNs can vary depending on several factors, including the features and capabilities offered, the number of users or devices, the level of support, and the overall scale of the VPN service.
Personal VPNs typically offer subscription plans that cater to individual users or households. Designed for personal use, they usually offer basic features such as access to a limited number of servers in select locations, a limited number of simultaneous connections, and basic security protocols.
Personal VPNs often offer monthly, annual, or multi-year subscription plans with tiered pricing, where users can choose a plan that fits their budget and requirements.
On the other hand, business VPNs are designed to meet organizational needs, providing scalability and higher levels of security than personal VPNs. They often have tiered pricing based on the number of users or connected devices and may offer more advanced features, such as:
Pricing for VPNs can vary widely among different providers, so you’ll need to carefully review plans and pricing to determine the best fit for your specific needs. Some VPN providers may offer free plans with limited features or trial periods for users to test their services before committing to a paid plan.
A personal VPN can benefit a wide range of individuals who value online privacy, security, and freedom. Here are some examples of people who find a personal VPN helpful.
If you are concerned about your online privacy and want to protect your personal data from being monitored or tracked by third parties, such as cybercriminals, government agencies, or advertisers, a personal VPN can help by encrypting your internet traffic and masking your IP address.
ISPs can monitor and track their customers’ internet activity, including websites visited, online searches, and other online activities. They may use or sell your data for various purposes, such as targeted advertising or other data mining activities.
A personal VPN encrypts and routes your internet traffic through the VPN server, which can help prevent your ISP from tracking your online activities. Your ISP will only be able to see that you connect to a VPN server and that encrypted data is being transmitted, but they won’t be able to decipher the actual content of your internet traffic or monitor your specific online activities.
Some internet content is geo-restricted, meaning it’s only available in certain countries. A personal VPN can help bypass these restrictions by connecting to a server in a different location and masking your IP address and information about your current location.
Similarly, if you live in a country with restricted internet access, such as certain countries with heavy censorship or surveillance, a personal VPN can help you bypass these restrictions and access the open internet.
If you frequently travel or use public Wi-Fi networks, like those in coffee shops, airports, or hotels, a personal VPN can provide an additional layer of security. It can help protect your sensitive data from potential hackers or eavesdroppers lurking on public Wi-Fi networks.
No matter the size or scope of your business, any professional can benefit from a business VPN to enhance their online security, privacy, and operational efficiency. Here are some examples of when a business VPN might be required.
Businesses with remote or mobile workers who need to access corporate resources and data from outside the office may use a business VPN to provide secure remote access to internal networks, applications, and files. Businesses with global operations or international offices may use a business VPN to provide secure connectivity and communication between locations, ensuring that sensitive data and communications are protected across borders.
Businesses that offer professional services, such as law firms, accounting firms, consulting firms, mortgage agents, and real estate brokers, often handle sensitive client data. A business VPN can ensure client communications and data confidentiality and integrity.
E-commerce stores or online businesses often handle customer data, financial transactions, and other sensitive information. A business VPN can secure their online communications, protect customer data, and ensure secure access to their e-commerce platforms or other online systems.
Businesses deal with a wide range of sensitive data, including customer information, financial records, trade secrets, and other proprietary information – and business owners can’t always rely on employees to be cautious.
VPNs encrypt data between users and company servers, preventing unauthorized parties from intercepting and accessing the data. This helps maintain data privacy and confidentiality, reducing the risk of data breaches or leaks.
Some businesses have unique requirements beyond the standard features offered by regular VPNs. For example, companies that host websites, provide remote access to employees, transfer large volumes of data, or need to meet compliance requirements will need dedicated IP addresses and servers. In such cases, a business VPN solution can handle the necessary bandwidth, performance, and security needs.
Businesses with employees who frequently travel often need to use public Wi-Fi in vehicles, airports, and hotels. A business VPN can provide several benefits, including secure remote access to business resources, data privacy and confidentiality, protection against malicious cyber activity, regulatory compliance, and access to geographically restricted resources.
In addition, administrative controls can help businesses ensure that traveling employees adhere to security protocols, minimizing the risk of security incidents.
For many companies, managing member access is vital for maintaining the security and integrity of an organization’s resources and information. A business VPN with user management capabilities can provide businesses with the tools to control and customize member access, ensuring that only authorized members can access sensitive resources or systems within the organization.
All businesses want to avoid data leaks and cyber theft, but for companies with regulatory compliance requirements, protecting data is even more important. Businesses operating in industries with strict regulatory compliance requirements, such as healthcare, finance, or legal, may use a business VPN to secure their online communications and data in compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards.
While both personal and business VPNs aim to provide secure and private internet browsing experiences, they serve different purposes and have distinct features. Personal VPNs prioritize individual privacy and are suitable for accessing content and services from anywhere in the world.
Business VPNs are designed to secure corporate networks and ensure seamless remote access for employees. They come with additional features such as centralized management and monitoring, and scale to meet the needs of large organizations.
Ultimately, whether you choose a personal or business VPN depends on your specific needs and intended use. However, it’s essential to research and choose a reputable VPN provider that meets your privacy, security, and performance requirements.
Perimeter 81 offers secure internet browsing for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses. Connect your employees to all the resources they need – without worrying about security. With dedicated servers and IP addresses, cloud-based VPN technology, strong security features, and a simple setup, our business VPN has got you covered. Book a demo to get your questions answered today.