VPNs, also known as Virtual Private Networks, are increasingly popular these days - and perhaps no more so in the realm of business.
Part of this has been driven by a higher percentage of remote workers, and a concern for privacy given ISPs that are too often data hungry. However, before signing up your employees en masse for a business VPN, it's important that several accepted truths about the software are either debunked or confirmed.
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Free VPNs are just as good as premium versions
The myth here is that as there are free VPNs available, there is no reason to pay for one. This is a fallacy, as while there are indeed free options out there (and some of which deliver fairly decent quality), they are truly a bad idea when it comes to your business.
You see, a VPN gets access to all of your data, and are free to use it as they see fit - including selling the information to the highest bidder. The privacy of data is even more important for a business, so it is more than reasonable for a business to have a decent VPN, that gets periodic payments, and therefore an ongoing incentive to keep the data private and therefore to keep its customers happy.
So we would recommend staying away from cost-free VPNs and ensuring that you don't end up with a product that could compromise your data.
VPN providers keep your data
We advise looking for a VPN that promises to keep data private, collects only minimal data on users to start with, and also has a clear, robust ‘no logs’ policy that confirms it keeps zero records on user’s activities. For example, two of the best providers out there - ExpressVPN and NordVPN - both have their policies audited by an independent third party. That's the kind of vigilance we like to see.
A VPN will throttle your connection
In some cases a VPN may indeed slow down your connection, such as with a low cost VPN that is oversold with an inadequate number of servers for its users. Alternately, a reputable VPN with plenty of servers, particularly one that is geographically close to the user, will have minimal impact on internet speeds.
In any event, in no case does a VPN directly slow users down or throttle a connection. There is minimal overhead for the encryption process that modern CPUs can easily handle. And if you're in any doubt, you can always take a look at our guide to the fastest VPNs to make doubly sure you won;t be slowed down.
A VPN is a substitute for antivirus software
A VPN is certainly an important tool to keep a user safe while online. This includes anonymizing a user’s IP address, and keeping malware off of the private network, unlike on the public internet. As seen in the screenshot below, using an online IP address checker, the address is anonymized, making it more difficult for a hacker to locate the user.
However, even a great VPN is not a substitute for an antivirus program that can provide real time protection of a system from malware, and on demand in-depth scanning when there is suspicion of a virus. Also, VPN cannot remove a virus from a system like antivirus software can accomplish.
All VPNs are essentially the same
Just like any other product, there is quite a bit of heterogeneity among VPN providers. Keep in mind the different privacy policies, the various costs and pricing plans.
Additionally, there are VPNs with power features including an integrated kill switch, or other VPNs which are super easy to configure. Some are jam-packed with extra features; others have put more time in to developing their mobile apps for VPN users on the go. And not all services were made equal when it comes to unblocking streaming sites, either.
With all those differentiators in play, we have no shame at all in pointing you in the direction of our dedicated best VPN guide. Having reviewed literally hundreds of products, we can tell you which are best for different uses and purposes, so you can make an informed decision about which to go for.