If you operate a small & medium business, hiring an IT network technician can be way out of budget, and leads smaller commerce and business owners to leave their networks unsecured. Not to be confused with Site-to-Site type VPN setups used to allow access to the office network from a remote location, using a third-party VPN service externally can really help small business operations in many ways, all while eliminating costly IT calls required to configure and maintain expensive VPN firewall routers. Not to mention how expensive the hardware firewalls are.
Small and medium offices can rarely splurge hundreds or thousands of dollars on a commercial firewall, and if something goes wrong, calling a contractor can cost hundreds of dollars per visit, all while operations are ceased until fixed. The utility offered by enterprise VPN firewall hardware is targeted to large offices with in house network administrators catering to completely different needs ranging from servers, email, and daily data backups.
External VPNs like the ones reviewed here, provide completely different features but primarily focusing on encrypting all of your web traffic. Unlike hardware, VPN services can provide access to servers located across the world, opening up local access to websites and services otherwise geographically restricted. Businesses located in China often depend on VPN services to be able to access online tools and services. Businesses can utilise the service for varied applications, such as;
- Encryption and Security: With all the hacking of larger corporation servers that we hear on the news every other week, being safe with sensitive data is better than being sorry. You can better encrypt your web traffic from snooping by cyber criminals, and secure your Wi-Fi router for better local protection.
- Public Wi-Fi Hotspots: If you happen to bring your laptop to the local coffee shop during break, you risk having your personal data quickly stolen with little effort from preying attackers waiting for unsuspecting users to log on. The same can be said with your smartphones and tablets, there are plenty of apps that quickly steal your Twitter and Facebook logins as soon as they are used across a public hotspot. Use a VPN, and all data gets encrypted, keeping your login credentials safe.
- NAT Firewall: Touching on security, some VPN providers offer native or optional NAT Firewall protection, adding another layer of security against any inbound traffic attacks. This can be effective against DDoS attacks, but also helps deter any intruders from accessing your servers.
- Save Money: There are a few ways you can increase your bottom line by reducing costs. A great way to reduce voice call expenses, is by using Voice-Over-IP services, but long distance charges can still be a burden. By changing server locations, you can effectively turn an overseas call into a local one. The same applies when travelling and using your smartphone. You can also learn more on how to get better rates through online reservation sites with the help of a VPN service.
- Web Marketing & Social Media: Nowadays, online presence is more important than ever, but many companies also exist solely online. Social media platforms have been taking over as the leading way to reach audiences, but you can only run so many accounts from a single IP before getting banned. By having each computer connected to a VPN, you can appear as having multiple IPs and locations, allowing your employees to manage multiple social media accounts without risk.
- Cheap Static IPs: Some VPN services also offer to provide static IP addresses, which is usually the opposite of what VPN users want. But for businesses, having a static IP can be used to monitor cameras and alarm systems, but internet service providers often charge a premium price of 15-25$ per month. Not many services offer this option, but the available choices are considerably cheaper.
- Travelling & Web Access: VPNs allow you connect to home based servers to access your important software platforms while on business trips or vacation, but as mentioned above, no matter where you are located, you can unblock web content by location by connecting to country specific servers.
- SEO & Location Based Results: SEO firms and location based marketing companies can benefit of having local server access for multiple countries, all the way down to cities, accessing local search terms and websites to gain an upper hand on region based strategies.
The list goes on, but for a very small price, your business can instantly benefit from a VPN subscription. No matter if you’re a start-up entrepreneur, running a small to medium shop, or working from home, the small investment can ensure a layer or two of network and web security, and put money back in your pocket. Below I list the services I would suggest for small and medium business owners, based on speed, quality of service, price, software, and features that directly benefit business needs.
Best VPN Services for Businesses
Private Internet Access – Full Review
On top of the list is not the most elaborate or feature rich option of the bunch, but it is the cheapest provider with the most value per dollar. One account allows for up to 5 devices to be connected, and only costs $3.33 per month on the yearly plan. They have provided great service since 2009, earning them a reputation of a strongly trusted and well-reviewed VPN provider. Software is available for all platforms including mobile devices.
For business use, the service natively offers NAT Firewall protection at no extra cost protecting outside entry to your network, while also keeping you completely secure on public Wi-Fi connections. The software is not fancy looking, but supports all major protocols and allows port forwarding, and provides DNS leak and disconnection protection to keep you safe at all times. Access to 18 countries and over 2000 servers provide plenty of U.S. coverage and key global locations for unrestricted use. No logs, excellent customer service, and all the security a business depends on.
PureVPN – Full Review
Another cheap option on the basic plan, PureVPN also allows 5 devices to connect per account, and even supports IKEv2 additionally to OpenVPN and all other major connection protocols. At $4.16 per month on the yearly plan, the service is very competitively priced by offering access to over 100 countries and growing. Software apps are available for all platforms and includes useful features such as split tunnelling, and disconnection protection.
If you run a medium to large business, PureVPN also offers business oriented plans that allow for hundreds of simultaneous sessions and multiple static dedicated IP addresses and even secure remote access to your servers. You even get to brand the software with your own company logo for the full professional feel that comes with superb 24/7/365 support.
On the regular plans, PureVPN has some very interesting optional services for business use. Web protection and NAT Firewall is unfortunately not included in the basic plans and costs an additional $4.99 per month. Dedicated Static IPs are available starting at $4.99 per month as well, or $5.99 with DDoS protection. Even with both services added on, the $15 monthly charge seems to be cheap for all the utility you gain from it. If you have no need for a static IP, I would suggest to consider the firewall protection as a valuable addition.
VyprVPN – Full Review
VyprVPN tries hard to stand out for business purposes. To start, they have superbly designed software for all platforms, out of the box security for public Wi-Fi, and included NAT Firewall protection at no extra cost. Advanced Plans allow from 2 to 3 simultaneous connections per account, and although a little more expensive, everything is included and you get free encrypted cloud storage with the service.
If you run a medium to larger sized business and need more than 3 user clients, VyprVPN also offers business plans for multiple users and include dedicated account managers to support you with any technical problems or unique business needs you may need tailored for you. Additionally, business plans allow you to manage user accounts internally, allowing you to control/disconnect each account in real time.
Regular service also comes with 24/7 support, maybe not as good as the dedicated business support agent, but sufficient for those who only need a regular account. Software and features remain identical, making the pro and premium plans very good options for business use.
ExpressVPN – Full Review
A great choice if you want the best service with no setup headaches. ExpressVPN has very good speeds, excellent software on all platforms supporting VOIP, Wi-Fi hotspot protection, and top of the line customer support to help you with your setup needs. Service allows for 1 desktop, 1 mobile, and 1 VPN router per account, and provides coverage across 78+ countries and almost 100 cities.
ExpressVPN offers a truly premium level of quality across software and customer service. The experience is great from start to finish, backed up by a 30-day guarantee. They do not have any business specific plans or offerings, but service includes strong encryption and virtual firewall protection.
IPVanish – Full Review
It’s hard to suggest anything but a quality service for business. Many operations depend on speed, and IPVanish delivers simplicity and speed in one. Simple software with only the important features is provided for all platforms, and covers over 60+ countries at this time.
The service includes NAT Firewall, supports VOIP, and does a great job at protecting devices on Wi-Fi hotspots. Cost is higher than most, only allowing 2 connections per account, and each having to be on different connection protocols, OpenVPN and L2TP for example. IPVanish makes up in speed and service quality and worth considering for small business usage.