Ralph is a small business owner with a team of 10, most of which are in the field. They work off their phones, tablets and personal laptops from wherever they may be. Ralph has seen that more and more hacking attacking on small businesses are taking place, and knows that by his team using public wifi, they are more exposed to these malicious actors. Due to the nature of their work, everything from where they browse, to their write ups, and the files they send to each other are proprietary information that he wants

to keep safe for the sake of his business and his customers. Ralph talked to his MSP partner and they recommended he get a VPN.

WHAT IS A VPN

VPN stands for virtual private network. This is a network that while accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, is a more secure connection for a user to access the internet. A VPN is encrypted, meaning that a key is needed in order to be able to actually see the information. It serves as a cloaked portal between the user and the internet. Many people use VPN’s at home to do things such as change their location to watch foreign streaming services, or access Tor browsers to reach the dark web. While these benefits

can help your enterprise if you have remote workers abroad who can’t otherwise access your network, there are a few key benefits to a VPN for your business.

SECURITY

Public wifi servers are just that, public. This means that anyone can sign onto them regardless of the credentials. Once in, hackers can use this to access and mirror other users computers, allowing them to view your data as well as steal data and other credentials. A VPN stops these actors from being able to do so. A VPN is a cloaked portal, which means that it is encrypted. This encryption makes it impossible to view the data without a proper key to unlock the encryption. This means anyone trying to spy on yourself or your employees’ devices will only see illegible chunks. A VPN is akin to an invisiblity cloak, making it a more secure way for your teammates to enter your network from anywhere, any time with any devices. This is also the case for Peer-to-Peer file sharing amongst teammates. While services such as Dropbox, Google Drive etc do offer some security measures, often times those alone are not enough and files can be intercepted. However, with a VPN service, your employees and your customers are cloaked and protected, with these files being protected by the same encryption as the traffic.

ACCESSIBLITY

When the pandemic hit, many had to migrate their workforce from the traditional in house model to a remote, work from home model. While many companies had already migrated data to the cloud, they didn’t always have an easy way for their employees to access this data. This is where a VPN comes in. It doesn’t matter if the employee is down the street, two states away or in a country that doesn’t even allow free internet access, with a VPN, anyone with the proper credentials can get into their network and get their projects

accomplished. What’s more, VPN’s allow companies to segment data, so only specific users can access specific data if necessary. Everything from usernames to passwords to even IP addresses can be used as identifiers of who should be in, and who should be in, your network.

SAVINGS

This is a tricky one but depending on your business can be one of those great “hacks” that could be helpful to your bottom line. Businesses offer different pricing in different countries. This goes for everything from consumer goods to flights and hotels, to equipment for your business. VPN’s allow you to disguise your country. By doing this it enables

you to access these discounts for your business. This could mean cheaper hotels and flights for traveling representatives, cheaper equipment for your company

and other great savings that you would never be able to access otherwise.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VPN

VPN’s are not all created equal. Just like many other subscription tech services, VPN companies offer a variety of add-ons and other tools for your business. The need for these obviously vary based on the nature of your enterprise. With that said, there are four main things that you should look for when choosing your VPN provider. Speed is crucial to how your business runs. You want to ensure that you at least get the same connection speed as you do from using an uncloaked network. VPN providers offer an array of different

pricing, so be sure to choose the right one for your business. Just like anything else, you never want to pay for features you do not need. Reliability is key. A reliable VPN will ensure that you don’t deal with costly and frustrating downtime issues. The final thing is ease of use. Not everyone who works for you is a tech expert. Regardless of the level of expertise, you want them to be able to access your network and be productive team members. Look at things such as the interface and how to access the VPN and ask yourself “Can my IT team and my janitorial staff both understand how to use this?"

Ralph listened and did his research. He knew that he could work with a trusted MSP, such as Delval Technology Solutions, to find the right VPN with the right features for his business. Now he knows that be it the field or the office, his team can access his network safely and securely, ensuring that the work keeps flowing and unwanted downtime is avoided.