Business VPN services are enormously flexible. Some VPNs are designed to link a handful of users to a shared network, while others are optimized to connect multiple networks across the globe. No single configuration is suitable for every VPN, which is why each one must be evaluated in relation to the intended use of the network. In general, enterprise VPN services are judged on three criteria: who will be connected, how they will connect, and the level of intervention required to manage their connection. With that in mind, here’s a look at some key features of business VPNs.
Your bandwidth determines how quickly signals transfer from your computer to the VPN server and then to the website you’re accessing. If the VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, pages load quickly and attachments, even large documents, send without lag time. Unlimited bandwidth also allows you to download content quickly, without slowing down your day-to-day business activities. VPNs across the board offer it, so don’t choose one based on unlimited bandwidth alone – just expect it to be there.
Hackers want to steal your data and will go to great lengths to do that. But if it’s encrypted, there’s not much they can do with it. That’s why it’s important for your VPN to have solid encryption. Look for vendors that employ the OpenVPN, IKEv2 and/or WireGuard protocol.
OpenVPN is widely used in the industry because of its flexibility and security. It is an open-source protocol, so it is updated all the time. It hides data as it flows across the web. Mobile and Windows users should make sure their VPN relies on the IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) protocol, which keeps your VPN secure in the event you lose your Wi-Fi connection. The WireGuard protocol improves the connection speeds and includes advanced security.
Dedicated Static IP Address
Unless you are a solo entrepreneur or freelancer, you’ll want to consider a VPN that offers you a dedicated static IP address and server. A static VPN is designed to protect the entire network for businesses with multiple employees. The VPN makes it easy for you as the employer to monitor your team’s activity and manage access to your business’s network from one centralized location.
The protocols a VPN incorporates determine the network’s security level and ease of use. Remote access VPNs usually authenticate users through usernames and passwords, which makes it simple for anyone with login information to access the network from any location, while site-to-site VPNs use certificates preloaded onto the hardware.
Another factor to consider is the level of control an internet VPN offers you and other administrators. Access levels on small networks are often configured for each person, though this becomes unwieldy as the network grows. Large networks use global management, in which a single administrator sets up the VPN service by assigning permission levels to groups of people without having to separately reconfigure each machine.
Privacy is at the heart of VPNs, which is why many boast zero logging. That means they won’t track and log your business’s activity over the VPN. Other VPN providers do keep records and sell their users’ data to third parties. Before selecting a VPN service that doesn’t have a no-logging policy, find out what it logs and what it does with the information.
Most VPNs offer a kill switch that protects your data in the event of a breach. This emergency function automatically kills your connection to the VPN, which prevents data from being transferred. If the vendor doesn’t offer a kill switch, it should raise a red flag for you.
Tip: Even though VPNs prevent third parties from snooping, some service providers do the snooping themselves. They will log your activity and, in some cases, sell it to third parties. If that matters to you, read the VPN’s logging policy to find out what data it tracks and logs before you sign up.