Have you just started operations for your new venture? Do you only work from your office or on the go as well? When you are on the move, you are probably working from everywhere that can provide WiFi, such as hotels, cafes, restaurants, and airports. However, that can be a problem since WiFi in public places is not safe to use.
If you think that cybercriminals are not interested in your data, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hackers can try to gain access to your personal information, as well as that of your client.
That is why small business owners need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to mask their network traffic. A VPN can create a private network for you that adds a layer of protection when you access any information on the internet.
However, VPNs are also not as secure as everyone thinks them to be. Various law enforcement agencies from the United States, Germany, France, and Switzerland have seized domains and servers of three VPN service providers this week. These VPNs have been active for more than 10 years and offered services to cybercriminals.
It is believed that all three of them were operated by the same person. The VPNs were heavily advertised on Russian and English cybercrime forums that operated on the darknet. According to the United States Department of Justice, the VPNs were often used by ransomware gangs, data phishers, and other hackers to hide their true identity.
Therefore, we would advise you to conduct thorough research before you pick a VPN service. Let us take a look at some factors recommended by experts for choosing a VPN service provider.
Secure Communications Protocols
Think of the VPN service as a tunnel that connects you to the data you are accessing on the internet. Since it is a closed tunnel, no one else can see your data or the information you are accessing. However, the security of the tunnel will depend on the protocols used by the service provider.
In the earlier days, PPTP was a popular option to choose, but it is not as secure as it used to be. Look for service providers that offer L2TP/IPsec or OpenVPN. OpenVPN is often considered to be the best, but it does not offer support for smartphones. So if you need a VPN for smartphones or tablets, you would need L2TP/IPsec.
Are you an iPhone user? Check this VPN for iOS by Private Internet Access.
You would be using a VPN so that no one can track or monitor your online activities. That means your ISP or any other third party should not be able to keep track of your online behavior. However, your VPN service providers will have access to that data, which means if they keep a log of it, anyone else may be able to hack into their mainframe to access it.
That is especially applicable if the VPN service is located in a 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes country, where they are legally bound to provide the data to government surveillance. Therefore look for a service provider that has a guaranteed no-log policy. That way, you will have peace of mind that the VPN will not store any data that can get stolen if there is a security breach.
Beware of Fake VPNs
When you choose a VPN, you trust the service provider to keep your data secure. That makes it easy for scammers to take advantage of your trust. So when you want to choose a VPN service provider, visit a few reputed websites where you can read reviews of the vendors you have shortlisted. That way, you can choose a safe and secure VPN that suits your budget.
Avoid Free VPNs
As a new business owner, you might feel tempted to use a free VPN. But we would strongly advise against it. VPN providers, just like any other business, need to earn money. So, if they are not making money from their clients, they might be selling your data to someone else.
Losing your business data can prove costly for you, so it is better to pay a few dollars a month for a paid VPN that offers quality service. Most of them offer discounts if you buy their annual plans.
Since the internet is fundamental to any business operations these days, owners have to rely on public WiFi services on the go. A secure VPN can ensure that your business data stays safe while accessing the internet on private or public WiFi. However, not every VPN is equally safe, so make sure you consider the factors we discussed before you choose one for your business needs.