There are many things to keep track of to make your startup successful – financial management, HR, investors, marketing, to name just a few. However, if it isn’t already, cybersecurity should be at the top of your list of concerns.
Any business these days should be vitally concerned with cybersecurity, particularly (but not only) if you are part of the tech sector. Every time you do anything online – whether browsing websites, sending emails or storing documents it is essential that your information is safe and secure, and to ensure this you need to have a reliable VPN service.
Let’s take a look at why choosing the right VPN is essential, and how to choose the best service for your startup.
Why Do I Need a VPN Service?
Whether we like it or not, these days our online activities are constantly under attack from hackers and cyber attackers. Startups are frequently targeted by attackers seeking to gain financial data, intellectual property or any other information which may be of value. A virtual private network, or VPN, is service which protects your data from being collected by others on your network, using a range of security measures. VPN services generally work on the basis of a paid subscription, which can vary in terms of monthly cost.
You most commonly hear about VPNs being used to protect your data from being seen by prying eyes on public WiFi, or to disguise your geographical location for whatever reason. However, VPNs are still important even if you are using your own server, because even these are vulnerable to cyber attackers. Additionally, you likely have remote workers or employees who work from home some of the time (even if it is just checking their emails on the weekends). In these cases they may be using public WiFi to access information, in which cases it is essential that they use a VPN to keep your business’ information secure.
What Can Happen if I Don’t Have a Good VPN Service?
A VPN secures the connection between the computer or mobile device you or your employees are using and the rest of the online world. This secure connection means hackers cannot spy on your internet activity, steal credentials or redirect your data elsewhere. Or at least, it makes it much more difficult for them to do so – after all, few systems are completely impenetrable by the best hackers, as we’ve seen in the recent cyberattacks on institutions and organisations including US Customs and Border Protection, First American and American Medical Collection Agency.
If you are not protected by an effective VPN service, all of the information your startup transmits over the internet is vulnerable to being stolen. This could range from you strategic plans and important business contacts to private customer data including credit card information. You can imagine how disastrous it would be if all of this information would be leaked! Additionally, an effective VPN service will encrypt your data and hide your location, which can be useful for browsing in certain locations. For example, if you travel to countries like China where the network is restricted, you will need a good VPN service to access all the sites you are accustomed to using back home.
What Should I Look For in a VPN?
You’ll notice the reference to a good VPN service: this is because not all VPN services are the same by any means. Comprehensive protection from the many online threats which exist nowadays means having a number of security measures in place. Different VPNs employ different security measures, and therefore offer variable levels of protection. Additionally, certain VPN services are only suitable for use in certain countries, so if your startup operates across multiple locations or employees travel often, be sure to check that the VPN service you are considering is suitable for all relevant locations.
Speed can also be a big differentiating factor – so be sure to run speed tests when trying different VPN services. You don’t want your business’ efficiency to be hampered by a slow VPN service. There is also a lot of price difference between the different VPNs which are available. However, as you may imagine the lower the cost, the lower the level of protection. You have to consider: is cybersecurity really the area where you want to save a few dollars?
What is the Best VPN Service?
As mentioned, there are a number of different VPN services available, offering different levels of protection, speed and service. ExpressVPN is one of the best on the market, being hard to beat in terms of comprehensive security features, user support and usability. Its subscription costs are reasonably high compared to other services, but it offers one of the most secure VPNs around and allows you to connect up to 5 devices at a time.
NordVPN is another great option, offering military-grade encryption and advanced privacy features. For individual use, there are cheaper services available which are suitable for connecting a limited number of devices, however these are not recommended for use by startups or other businesses due to the lack of features and lower levels of protection.