What is a Business VPN?

A Next-gen Business VPN simplifies the secure access to all your internal and cloud-based resources such as staging servers and company databases.

What is a Business VPN?

A business VPN is a Virtual Private Network designed especially for the security and privacy needs of organizations. Rather than connecting to the internet via an ISP, the best business VPNs provide an impenetrable tunnel between your organization’s resources and systems and the employees accessing them. End-to-end encryption of these connections, even if they are remote or using public Wi-Fi, prevents unwanted access or visibility into the organization’s network.

It’s important not to confuse a business VPN with a traditional VPN. A traditional VPN serves only two primary purposes; to mask your IP and help keep your identity anonymous. Traditional VPNs lack the necessary functions required by businesses that want to enhance their Internet security and provide a safe connection for employees to access data. 

Business VPNs allow your company to control access, similar to authorizing or preventing people from entering a building. By adding or removing users when needed, organizations can protect sensitive information and block access to company servers on a person-by-person basis. Employees transition in and out of companies all the time or only require temporary access. If an employee’s device is stolen, access can quickly be blocked, ensuring company data remains secure. 

A Business VPN can provide your teams with complete network visibility. Instantly receive alerts regarding anomalies like bandwidth consumption and audit all access requests to resources.

Employees can use a business VPN on multiple devices such as company-owned laptops, workstations, and personal mobile phones. This enhanced protection to all endpoints means that employees are shielded no matter where they’re connecting from. Whether it’s at home (Gartner predicts nearly 50% of employees will work remotely post-pandemic), in a public environment, or while traveling.

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How a Business VPN Can Help You

  • Provides end-to-end encryption for company devices 
  • Deploy high-speed, dedicated servers with dedicated IPs 
  • Protects information from hackers, and competitors 
  • Keeps data safe when sending over the network 
  • Lets remote workers connect safely to the company network 
  • Reduces the chances of a data breach
  • Reduces IT costs

Business VPN Setup and Security Terms You Need to Know

When acquiring a business VPN, you need to know the essential terms and phrases. Having this knowledge helps ensure you choose the best possible service vendor and prevent paying for needless hardware and services you may already have or don’t require. 

  • Business VPN Definition: A VPN that provides an end-to-end encrypted secure web connection for your business and can provide remote access for employees to connect to the company’s internal network. Ideally, the VPN will allow you to centrally manage all aspects of your business VPN from a management console.
  • Business VPN Router: A business-class VPN router allows users to establish a secure connection using only hardware, without the need to download, install, and manage any additional software. This means multiple devices can access the VPN server by connecting to the router. 
  • Business VPN Provider: This is your business VPN service provider, sometimes referred to as a VPN host. 
  • Business VPN Firewall: A VPN firewall helps prevent cyber attackers from intercepting or exploiting a VPN connection. It can be installed on your VPN router or as software. 
  • Business VPN Server: Traditional VPNs offer users proxy servers, but for businesses, they provide dedicated servers, or the company can use their own servers.
  • Business VPN Services: There are a number of essential services businesses need, such as static IPs, a user management console, the ability to monitor network activity, kill switch, and your preferred VPN protocol. Ensure that your chosen vendor offers your desired services before signing any deal.
  • Business VPN Security: Specific security features some VPNs can provide are:
    -No IP address leaks
    -No logging of data 
    -Kill switch
    -Multi-Factor authentication 
  • Business VPN Gateway: This is a specific virtual gateway used to send traffic to and from the business network. All data must enter and exit through a gateway, which is a network node connecting two networks with different protocols. By translating the protocols it allows the networks to communicate with each other.

Small Business VPN

Small businesses which typically have between 5-50 employees are some of the most common targets of cyberattacks. Hackers know that these businesses are likely lacking sufficient internet security due to their smaller size, as they’re less likely to invest in cyber defense due to a shortage of capital or time. The result is small businesses are constantly under threat. They make themselves easy targets and do nothing to deter attacks. 

A small business VPN provides an intelligent, scalable security solution so you can protect customer data and your network with one unified network security tool.

What Are The Most Common Threats Facing Small Business Owners?

  • Poor security hygiene: Small businesses that don’t provide cybersecurity training for employees are most likely to suffer from successful cyber attacks. Poor password management, lax user access controls, phishing emails, and downloading malicious apps are just some ways employees can inadvertently grant attackers access to the network.
  • Unprotected endpoints: The more devices, users, and applications added to your network, the higher the vulnerability and attack surface. It’s all-too-easy for fast-growing small businesses and startups to lose control of the devices connecting to the network and using company data. 
  • Zero-day attacks: Even the best firewall and cybersecurity software needs to be updated constantly to ensure the latest patches and fixes. Zero-day attacks are highly exploitable by bad actors, and it can be challenging for small businesses to fight against.
  • Non-segmented network access: Small businesses are less likely to restrict access based on user needs and requirements. This means any hacker who gains access to the network by exploiting users or endpoints can quickly move across the entire network and potentially steal private data.

Achieving Compliance with a Business VPN

Due to the increased threat of cyber-attacks, new regulations were introduced to ensure companies do their best to protect data. This means businesses must be compliant or risk hefty fines and penalties. 

An unsecured internet connection could lead to a data breach or expose data to unintended recipients. Depending on where your business is located and the customers it serves, it may need to comply with a number of different regulatory bodies such as HIPAA, which exists to safeguard protected healthcare information (PHI) such as electronic patient data.

How Can a VPN Ensure HIPAA Compliance for a Small Business?

Businesses in the healthcare sector must take the proper precautions when storing, accessing, and backing up any ePHI. On top of other vital features, the best VPN solution for small businesses will need these four safeguards that only allow authorized users to access ePHI and monitor the network.

  • Audit controls – With a VPN, the business can record and examine all activities carried out on its network. 
  • Network security – All data transferred over a VPN must be encrypted once it’s sent past an internal firewalled server. The VPN tunnel ensures that the data cannot be intercepted or read by non-authorized parties. 
  • Access control – Manage all user credentials from a central location. 
  • Integrity controls – To be HIPAA compliant, the business must have procedures in place which prevent anyone from altering or destroying ePHI. With a HIPAA-compliant VPN, the business can authenticate and authorize user access.
  • Always On VPN – Many data breaches occur as a result of compromised devices that store unencrypted data or transfer data across unsecured networks. An Always On VPN ensures that data is always encrypted and the device uses a secure connection.

How to Setup a VPN for Small Businesses

Depending on the size of your business and the resources you have available, you can set up your own VPN. You’ll need a VPN client, a VPN server, and a VPN router. For most small businesses, the time and cost required to set up a VPN are out of reach, which is why using a vendor is the preferred method. Another alternative is to use cloud-based VPNs that don’t require any hardware and can more easily include all of your employees’ devices.

Step 1 – Preliminary Planning

Before contacting any vendors or trying to implement your own VPN, first assess your needs and requirements. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What operating systems are you using? Not all VPNs support MacOS or only support Linux and Windows but aren’t compatible with Android and iOS. 
  • How many devices and what kind of endpoints need a VPN? If employees are using smartphones and similar devices, you’ll need a mobile VPN. Also, consider how many employees you will need to provide with a VPN, including freelancers and contractors 
  • Will you need VPN security for multiple locations, including abroad? If employees are working remotely or traveling, they’ll need a VPN which will work no matter where they are
  • Do you already have any existing infrastructure or software? Examples would be a Windows small business VPN server or Always on VPN for small business

Step 2 – Picking a VPN Vendor

There are several qualities to look for in your VPN vendor. Here are four qualities you can use to make your own evaluation:

  • Vendor reputation: Does the vendor have a positive reputation among other businesses? Have they been the victims of a cyberattack? Are you aware of any other security concerns, such as leaked data or outdated technology? There are many places you can find reviews for VPN vendors from websites like TrustPilot or speak to other customers.
  • Type of encryption: You will want 256-bit encryption, along with two-factor or multi-factor authentication, as this will keep all of your data indecipherable and reduce the chances of hackers using stolen credentials. 
  • Required features: Check that the VPN vendor offers specific features you need, such as a kill switch, specific server locations, the ability to scale, no logging policy, and compatibility with your devices and operating systems. 
  • Availability of support: How easy is it to contact customer support? Check their contact hours, level of documentation, and if they offer security audits.

Step 3 – Decide Which VPN Protocol to Use

VPN protocols determine how to route your data between your devices and the VPN server. Each protocol has its advantages and disadvantages, such as higher speeds or stricter encryption. 
These are the most common VPN protocols used by small businesses:

  • SSTP: Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) was developed by Microsoft. As such, it works best when used on a Windows device. If you use Linux or MacOS, you may struggle to integrate it successfully. It is more secure than other protocols like PPTP and SSTP
  • OpenVPN: A popular, open-source VPN. It’s known for its flexible configurations and fast becoming standard among businesses. It’s compatible with many platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android 
  • PPTP: Point-to-point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is one of the original VPN protocols first used, but it’s fast becoming obsolete due to its slow speeds compared to newer protocols
  • L2TP/IPSec: Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) has robust security features and is often served with IPSec, which secures data sent over the VPN by authenticating and encrypting it. Because this protocol authenticates data twice, it can lead to reduced transmission speeds. L2TP/IPSec works with both desktop and mobile devices
  • IKEv2/IPSec: The Internet Key Exchange Version two (IKEv2) excels when used with mobile devices as it ensures a stable VPN connection when switching between Wi-Fi and a mobile network. This can happen when the Wi-Fi network suddenly disconnects or the device leaves the Wi-Fi range 
  • WireGuard: One of the newest VPN protocols with both robust security and fast connection speeds for internet traffic and data transfer

Step 4 – Install VPN Software and Hardware (if required)

After finalizing a deal with a vendor, you’ll need to install the VPN software on all the intended devices and possibly install additional hardware, such as SSL VPN routers commonly used by small businesses.

Note: Recommended practice is first to test the VPN on a handful of devices to ensure everything is working as intended and to troubleshoot any issues before rolling out the VPN across your business. It’s not uncommon to experience a number of issues like software conflicts, firewalls blocking the connection, or operating systems in need of the latest updates and patches.

Why a VPN is Important for Business

Using an unsecured internet connection to access sensitive information or connect to a network is one of the easiest ways hackers can penetrate your security perimeter. It doesn’t matter if your business runs entirely or partially in the cloud; your security is only as strong as its weakest link. With a secure VPN for business, you can intensify your security by providing a secure internet connection, encrypt all data transfers, and enable remote access for off-site employees. 

Improve your security
A secure VPN for business works by establishing a secure tunnel connection between the user and your server while simultaneously encrypting the transferred data. This enhanced protection means that even when traveling and using free Wi-Fi or using less-secure devices like mobile phones, all connections are secure and the data is fully encrypted. When using a non-secure internet connection to log in and access data, it’s easy for anyone with malicious intent to steal your credentials and sensitive information. 

Encrypt all data 
When sharing data of any kind, it’s vital to encrypt it so that only those with the correct credentials can view it. Plenty of high-profile companies such as Yahoo! And Disney have both been the victims of major breaches. No one, including Fortune 500’s are exempt from a malicious hacker. Encrypting data means that even if it’s stolen, it can’t be deciphered. 

Enable remote access 
The way businesses operate has drastically changed. More people are working remotely as technology removes the need for employers to work from an office physically. With a VPN, you can ensure that employees can safely work remotely regardless of their location or endpoint.

Business VPN Cost

When exploring the VPN cost for small and large businesses, the price can depend on the type of VPN chosen and other variables such as the number of users, static IPs, the ability to monitor network activity, and server locations. The best business VPN service is the one that fits your needs and can secure your network and data. A free business VPN may be tempting and easily accessible, but it does not provide you with the security needed for a corporate environment.

Business VPN Pricing Factors

The cost of a VPN for business can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the type of VPN, killswitch, two-factor authentication, 24/7 customer support, dedicated servers, priority support, API access, the number of users, split tunneling, network segmentation, and network traffic control, just to name a few of the deciding factors. 

Advantages of a Business VPN

Here are some of the most important advantages a business can gain when using a business-orientated VPN:

Increased security

Enhance your online security by establishing a secure tunnel and encrypting transmitted data. Businesses shouldn’t only rely on a VPN and combine it with other protections such as two-factor authentication and IP whitelisting.

Central management

It’s more efficient for businesses to manage the usage of VPNs compared to an array of individual VPN accounts with a single point of administration. From a single console, you can ensure that all VPNs employ the latest software updates, manage user access, monitor network activity and scale with the required number of users and endpoints.

Reduce costs with BYOD

Employing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy benefits businesses by reducing their infrastructure costs but also increases their overall attack surface. Secure every endpoint and keep internet sessions secure with a VPN.

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Personal VPN vs. Business VPN

At base level, both personal and business VPNs perform the same tasks of creating an encrypted tunnel, but there are significant differences between the two. A personal VPN is tailored towards individual use, whereas a business VPN specifically addresses the needs of organizations.

A business VPN differs from a consumer VPN largely in the functions it has that serve an organizational purpose rather than a retail one. For example, business VPNs can come with an array of extra tools that are designed to help orchestrate access to multiple resources from multiple users – static IP addresses, traffic monitoring, and network segmentation – but keep in mind that these benefits only come when the VPN is packaged in unified fashion alongside other networking and security solutions, much like in a Network as a Service. Consumer VPNs, on the other hand, are standalone pieces of software that help individuals mask the origin of their traffic over the web.

Business VPN

Multiple Users
Built with scalability in mind to provide an organization the ability to provide all endpoints with a VPN

Business Use
Provides protection to the company’s network, allow employees to safely connect from any location on unsecured internet, and encrypts all traffic

Centrally Managed 
All VPN accounts are managed from a central console allowing the Admin to create, edit, and audit user accounts

Personal VPN

Single User
Typically designed for one user and one device can sometimes be used on multiple devices

Personal Use
Creates a VPN tunnel plus encryption. Also used to hide IP addresses and change geo-location

Single Account Control 
The user has complete control over the VPN account and settings

Shared IPs and Servers
Unless paying for a premium service, most personal VPNs force users to share IPs and servers

Single Subscription with Limited Options
Each account is paid for via a subscription model and only has access to a number of features

What Are The Different Types of Business VPNs?

There are many different types of business VPNs, but they can generally be categorized into two groups: remote access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs. While a remote access VPN can help individual people remotely connect to a local area network, a site-to-site VPN connects two of these networks together. The latter version helps companies more so than the former, as a business is more easily able to extend its resources across multiple locations and offices. Additionally, there are different types of encryption protocols in use across the same type of VPN – for example, there is SSL and IPSec, but WireGuard is a faster and newer protocol now gaining steam.

Why is a VPN for teams important for business?

VPNs are crucial for businesses that want their employees to be able to safely connect to resources – local server storage, cloud SaaS applications, and more – but from afar. Remote work is the single biggest use case for a VPN for business, because connections to internal resources that aren’t secure are easy to exploit, and put invaluable proprietary data at risk. With a VPN, each employee is required to encrypt his or her traffic before connecting to sensitive resources, meaning that IT can assume anyone who is connected is also protected.

Business VPN FAQs

Why is a VPN important for business?
A VPN provides a business with end-to-end protection when using the Internet. It ensures privacy and security by creating a secure tunnel between the device and the server. VPNs can be used on both computer devices like desktops and laptops, plus smartphones and tablets. 

The enhanced protection is vital for anyone traveling and using public internet access like free Wi-Fi or working remotely. Only with a VPN can businesses protect sensitive data and protect themselves from data breaches and cyberattacks.
How do I set up a VPN for my business?
1. Perform initial preparation by evaluating your VPN needs
2. Pick a VPN vendor which matches your criteria 
3. Choose a VPN protocol 
4. Install the VPN hardware (if needed) and software on all required devices and endpoints

Next, you’ll need to ensure that the VPN settings are recognized in your network, which means adding the correct details like the server address, remote ID, and authentication login details. This can be done in bulk by IT for managed devices. Next, once the client is installed, the admin can choose which encryption protocol to use with employee devices and configure other options according to the needs of the network
Which VPN is best for companies?
The best VPN for companies is the one that provides business features such as user management, dedicated servers, dedicated IPs, speed and stability, desktop and mobile solutions, scalability, and 24/7 support.
Should I use a free business VPN?
It’s not recommended to use a free VPN for business. Unless you’re paying for the VPN service, it’s like the company is selling your data.
What should I look for in a business VPN?
When looking for a business VPN, your main priority is to protect your company network and sensitive business data. Then, consider any other features you need, such as the ability to whitelist IPs, enable two-factor authentication, specific server locations, etc.

Highlighting The Benefits of Perimeter 81 for Business VPN

  • Dedicated Servers and IPs
    Improve email deliverability and enhance web hosting services with dedicated servers and IP addresses. 
  • Cost Effective
    Expand your network with a scalable software framework and convenient cloud or on-premise deployments.
  • Remote Access
    Secure your organization’s most valuable resources by creating virtual tunnels and gateways. Easily manage team member access and permissions in a single platform. 

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