How to Choose The Right VPN for Your Remote Team
As a result of globalization, technological development, and the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in the era of remote tools. We work remotely, attend concerts and conferences online, and even talk to friends more and more often via video calls rather than in person. In this context, the data privacy and security issues have become essential. Since work is one of the important parts of life, taking up most of our time, this article will focus on remote access security for employees and the role of a VPN in protecting data. We'll tell you why it's important to use a VPN for remote teams and how to choose the best one from the options available.
The Rise of Remote Work
According to Zippia, 27% of employees in the USA work remotely in 2023 and 16% of companies are fully remote without a physical office at all. It is expected that 36.2 million Americans will work remotely by 2025.
2022 Indeed survey says that 94% of Gen-Z and 84% of millennials would not take a job that required them to attend in-person full-time.
This proves that the trend towards remote work will continue to grow, and we will not return to the predominantly office-based work format. Employers will have to be flexible and offer candidates hybrid or fully remote options to attract the right talents. Employees report that they feel more productive working remotely and have a better work-life balance.
So remote work is our future, especially when it comes to the tech industry, where about half of the vacancies are already fully remote. However, along with all the advantages of this format for both parties, we should not forget about the growing information security issues.
Information Security Issues
Information security issues include:
Weak security control.
Cyberattacks on remote-working infrastructure.
The World Bank in the World Development Report 2021 said that remote work and lockdowns are driving a 50% increase in worldwide internet traffic, leading to new cybercrime opportunities. Although improper device management, which means that companies do not always provide remote employees with the necessary devices and cannot control personal devices' access to company data, together with the lack of cybersecurity awareness among employees are important issues, unsecured networks are still the most important factor in data loss.
By definition, working remotely entails some system access, network traffic, and data movement outside of the traditional boundaries of the corporate technology environment. Generally speaking, companies are unable to monitor every endpoint on any network in a remote worker environment.
How VPN Works
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an extremely important tool for remote work. It has three main functions:
full traffic encryption;
internet protocol (IP) masking;
bypassing geographical restrictions.
The VPN encrypts all internet traffic between employees' devices and the VPN server. In other words, it creates a kind of tunnel for data transmission, making it almost impossible for outside interference. This protects online activities, from being intercepted by hackers. Additionally, the VPN hides users IP address. When you connect to the VPN it replaces your IP address with the IP of the VPN server, making it difficult for third parties to track your online activities and location. As a bonus, it allows you to access any website needed from any location, so you can bypass geo-restrictions improving your research results.
Thanks to its main functions, the VPN is the simplest effective solution to the most important information security problem associated with remote work, which is an unsecured connection. It allows you to use public and home Wi-Fi networks safely and ensure that all data is encrypted with a reliable algorithm, which is almost impossible to crack.
Today, there are a lot of VPN services available on the market. Let's discover how to choose a trustworthy one, especially when it comes to remote work and not only employee personal data is at risk, but also the business and clients' information.
How to Choose The Right VPN
To choose the right VPN for remote work several important factors have to be considered:
Choose a VPN provider with a good reputation. We recommend starting your research by studying user reviews. You may not be familiar with all the protocols and policies used. There is nothing better to evaluate the quality of a VPN than real user reviews and recommendations. The VPN provider may publish overstated information on its website, but real users cannot be fooled, as in the Internet era, it is impossible to hide the truth about services that do not work well. Make sure you read reviews on independent resources, such as Trustpilot. Pay attention not only to the overall rating but also to the number of reviews and the way the provider deals with unsatisfied users. This will help you to evaluate the quality of customer support at a glance. Additionally, check if the VPN has undergone an independent security audit.
2. Encryption protocol
There are several encryption protocols available, and each one has strengths and weaknesses. The best options are OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and WireGuard. All these protocols offer robust encryption with little difference. OpenVPN provides comprehensive security and stable connections, which is extremely important when you use unsecured public Wi-Fi. IKEv2/IPsec is a good option when you are on the move, as it is known for its speed. It is ideal for mobile devices, as it will not allow you to lose connection while switching from Wi-Fi to the mobile network. WireGuard is known for its efficiency with speed as the strongest feature, so it is a good option for streaming and online gaming. The right VPN protocol depends on your priorities. When it comes to online work it is better to opt for OpenVPN, as security is the key.
3. No-Logs policy
It is important to choose a VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy. It means that they will not store logs of your online activity, connection dates, and IP addresses, as well as any other sensitive data. This usually depends on the jurisdiction of the service provider. For example, Planet VPN is registered under the jurisdiction of Romania. Under Romanian law, they are not required to monitor users and store their data. For users this means that personal data is fully secure.
4. Servers coverage
To guarantee that you have access to quick and reliable connections, it is crucial to search for the VPN with a strong server network.
5. Device compatibility
Ensure that you choose the VPN that enables numerous connections at once, allowing you to secure all of your devices with a single subscription.
6. Cost and payment options
Typically, VPNs have a free and a paid version, and prices can vary significantly. Free options secure users' data with some limitations. You will get few servers available, internet connection speed may be lower and sometimes you will see ads. Paid VPNs offer more reliability with strong server networks, faster speeds, and unlimited bandwidth. Some additional features such as malware protection may be available. For remote work, it is better to use the paid version for full protection, but if you work as a freelancer, the free version may be enough for you.
It is also important to check if anonymous payment options are available. It will add privacy to your subscription during the payment.
After analyzing all the above factors, you will be able to choose the best option. Keep in mind that the VPN covers one of the biggest risks of remote work, so you need to take your choice seriously. You may find it difficult to dive into the details of protocols and policies, but it's better done than sorry.