Why Free VPNs Are a Danger to Your Businesses

Free VPNs Not Suitable for Businesses

VPNs (Virtual Private Network) offer a way for data to be transmitted in a secure way. By encrypting in-transit data, customers and employees are kept safe from attacks that aim to intercept and steal it. VPNs’ proximity to browsing behavior and data also makes them shockingly important to an enterprise’s data integrity, however. 

Rather than charge you directly, “free” VPNs make money in sneakier, riskier ways – often by selling this data.

Quick Takeaways

  • Free VPNs are overwhelmingly risky: In the last 4 years, no less than 200 million users’ browsing logs and personal data have been leaked.
  • The consequences for businesses mishandling data can be disastrous.
  • VPNs are an investment: Rather than placing VPNs as adversaries to your bottom line, weigh up the quantity of personal data against your enterprise’s risk tolerance and work styles. 

Free VPNs Represent A Significant Online Security Risk

Freebies can be enticing – however, free VPNs are consistently and overwhelmingly insecure. Even throughout the last few years, free VPN services have grossly and consistently mishandled user data.

Even giants can be riddled with issues: SuperVPN’s mobile application once had over 100 million global downloads. As far back as 2016, however, researchers were warning that the free software was riddled with malware. 

  • In 2020, Google responded to proof that the app could allow man-in-the-middle attacks by taking it off the storefront. 
  • In 2022, the news broke that this VPN had already exposed the records of 21 million of its users. 
  • In 2023, cybersecurity researcher Jeremiah Fowler discovered a publicly exposed database with 133 GB of freely-accessible SuperVPN user data – this included users’ locations, online activities, device model, operating system and refund requests. 

Only a few weeks before this last discovery, SuperVPN was trending on Twitter (now X) after Pakistan started heavily restricting internet traffic.

Fowler highlights the fact that notes in the databases were almost exclusively in Chinese, and the cloud database’s owner was Chinese telecoms company Qingdao Leyou Hudong Network Technology Co. 

Alongside suspicions of international surveillance, free VPNs are just plain unsafe: in 2022, another free VPN provider under the name of BeanVPN left an ElasticSearch instance open to the public. Over 20GB of information – or 25 million records – were left unprotected. 

This included user device and Play Service IDs, connection timestamps, IP addresses, and more. 

How Paid VPNs Benefit Businesses

Paying for a business VPN can be an intimidating prospect: it creates no direct revenue streams, nor is it visible enough for potential customers to be persuaded by. 

However, glancing at the past security mistakes of free VPN software doesn’t quite tell the full picture of the consequences of such security oversight. The cost of breaches can very quickly spiral into the millions – GDPR violations are regularly cited as some of the most expensive. 

With this in mind, here’s how paid VPNs are an investment that grant greater online privacy and peace of mind to employees and customers alike.

Enhanced Security

  • Strong Encryption: Paid VPNs typically use advanced encryption protocols, such as AES – these verifiably ensure that all data transmitted between employees and company servers is protected from interception and decryption.
  • Dedicated IP Addresses: Enterprises can often obtain dedicated IP addresses, reducing the risk of IP blacklisting and enhancing security measures.

Reliable Performance

  • High-Speed Internet Connections: Paid VPN services generally offer higher bandwidth and faster connection speeds, ensuring that employees can work efficiently without experiencing significant lag or downtime.
  • Stable Connections: Paid VPNs provide more reliable connections, with fewer drops and interruptions, ensuring continuous access to critical business resources. This is the foundation of a provider’s SLAs – which guarantee a certain level of service reliability and uptime.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: Enterprises benefit from around-the-clock technical support, which can quickly resolve any issues that arise and minimize disruption to business operations.

Advanced Features

  • Multi-Device Support: Paid VPNs often support multiple devices per user, allowing employees to securely connect to the corporate network from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Centralized Management: Enterprises can manage and monitor VPN connections through a centralized dashboard, making it easier to enforce security policies and manage user access.
  • Customization and Scalability: Paid VPN services can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an enterprise, and they can scale as the business grows.

Global Access

  • Geo-Location Options: Paid VPNs often provide access to a wide range of server locations globally, enabling employees to securely access the internet and company resources from virtually anywhere in the world. Local Points of Presence (PoPs) improve latency and therefore drive global business architecture. 

Reduced Risk of Data Breaches

  • Threat Detection and Prevention: Many paid VPNs include built-in threat detection and prevention features, such as malware protection and intrusion detection, which can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.
  • No-Log Policies: Reputable paid VPN providers adhere to strict no-log policies, ensuring that users’ browsing activity is not recorded or stored, which further protects privacy. Connection logs can further be integrated into other security tooling – granting a security team deep endpoint visibility.

Invest in Your VPN Security with Perimeter81

Perimeter 81 delivers a scalable cloud VPN solution designed to help businesses securely connect to their cloud resources with ease. Keep access to sensitive data tightly controlled and monitored, while Perimeter81 maintains the physical and technical safeguards that protect your data. 

Built for security teams, the platform includes a centralized dashboard that streamlines the configuration and monitoring of VPN settings. 

With a strong emphasis on simplicity, scalability, and robust security, Perimeter 81 is the ideal partner to help you meet cloud compliance requirements, seamlessly integrating with your other cloud service providers. See how Perimeter81 can transform your cloud security.


What are the primary risks associated with using free VPNs?
Free VPNs come with significant security risks. They often compromise data privacy by logging and selling your information to third parties. Performance issues are also common, with free VPNs frequently experiencing slow speeds and unstable connections that disrupt your online activities.
How do free VPNs make money if they don’t charge users?
Free VPNs typically collect and sell your browsing data and personal information to advertisers or other third parties, compromising your privacy.
What are the advantages of using a paid VPN over a free one?
Paid VPNs offer better performance with faster connection speeds and more stable service, resulting in a smoother online experience. Additionally, paid VPNs provide 24/7 customer support and service level agreements (SLAs), ensuring reliability and peace of mind.
How can a paid VPN help my business comply with data privacy regulations?
Paid VPNs assist with regulatory compliance by ensuring all data transmitted is encrypted, protecting it from unauthorized access and interception.  This aids in auditing and demonstrating compliance with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA. 
Why should I view a paid VPN as an investment rather than an expense?
Investing in a paid VPN offers long-term benefits that outweigh the cost. By protecting your business from data breaches and cyberattacks, a paid VPN helps avoid the potentially high costs and reputational damage associated with such incidents. Enhanced operational efficiency is another advantage, as paid VPNs ensure secure and reliable connections, allowing employees to work smoothly and effectively. Moreover, the robust security features and compliance support provided by paid VPNs contribute to the overall health and success of your business, making them a valuable investment.

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