Most of our work and business activity is now done online. The internet has amazing benefits for business; access to information at your fingertips, connecting with global customers and peers, the list goes on and on. However, there are also pitfalls to operating your business online; security, privacy issues and country specific internet policies can cause havoc if the right precautions aren’t taken. For the up and coming entrepreneur with dreams of creating the next Uber; a Virtual Private Network or VPN, is key to ensuring your online activity is safe and secure, letting you focus on what you do best. This article will look at the main reasons start-ups and entrepreneurs need to start using a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) enables you to create a secure and private connection to a separate network via the internet. With a VPN you essentially “borrow” a temporary IP address which in turn hides your real IP address from any website that you access. In this respect a VPN is known for adding security and privacy to private and public networks. When you connect to a VPN, it will be as if your computer is on the same local network as the VPN your accessing. To break it down even further, think about it in the following ways:
A VPN is virtual as it creates a private connection with a “borrowed” IP address to any website online.
A VPN is private as all your online activity is encrypted and kept between you and the websites you visit.
A VPN is a network as you’re accessing a global network of VPN servers.
In sum here are what a VPN will do:
- Hide your IP address: Connecting to a Virtual Private Network often conceals your real IP address.
- Encrypt data transfers: A Virtual Private Network will protect the data you transfer over public WiFi.
- Mask your location: With a Virtual Private Network, users can choose the country of origin for their Internet connection.
- Access blocked websites: Get around website blocked by governments with a VPN.
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People use VPNs for personal use all the time. For example, to stream video content, improve security for online banking, and bypass geographic restrictions on websites. However, the reasons why an entrepreneur would need a VPN can be quite different.
Why entrepreneurs need a VPN
One of the main reasons why all entrepreneurs need to invest in a VPN is for security. Many don’t think they should be concerned about a security breach as their business is small. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Entrepreneurs have below average security set-ups which make them a PERFECT target for hackers. When cash flow is tight, the last thing an online business wants is its private data held ransom for a sum they can ill afford to pay. For this purpose alone, a VPN is crucial for any online business to stop thieves accessing company data and personal information.
A VPN service on all your devices will also ensure a secure connection regardless of where you are or what files you’re accessing. It also ensures you can communicate safely across different countries with peace of mind your data is secure. The encrypted connection makes sharing sensitive data easy, ensuring confidential data is only visible to those who should be seeing it. A VPN also ensures you’re not tempted to use public Wi-Fi connections which are prone to security breaches.
You won’t find a more cost effective security solution than a VPN. When launching a new business, cash flow is always a concern and it’s tempting to cut costs where you can to get by. However, when it comes to a VPN, this is something online business can’t afford to skimp on. Luckily VPNs are far from expensive and this is one of the main reasons why they are so attractive to entrepreneurs. Keeping your data secure and your users’ privacy safe should be a priority for all businesses. The good news is that with a VPN you don’t need a massive IT budget. Given that there are some VPN services are only a few bucks per user, I’d say any online business regardless of size can ill-afford NOT to get a VPN service up and running.
For a small outlay you will ensure that your data is safe and you have secure access to websites and online services regardless of location.
No geographic limitations:
A VPN is perfect for the boundaryless organization i.e. any online business where you may need to travel and communicate with people in different locations. Every country has unique internet access laws with some much stricter than others. The last thing an entrepreneur wants to not be able to access certain websites while travelling. This could mean not being able to access important corporate resources prior to meeting a client because access is restricted in that country. With a VPN, you will have no problems accessing corporate resources or any website for that matter, as with a VPN it will be as if you’re accessing the internet from wherever you’re are based (a true borderless company).
This means you can be located in virtually ANY country in the world! For example, if you have business in China you may be restricted from certain social media sites. If you need to access these sites for business purposes, then you may be in trouble. The key here is to do your research and ensure you use the right VPN provider. Each providers policy may be different which could cause issues in certain parts of the world so make sure to do your research prior to purchasing.
Using a temporary workspace:
When an entrepreneur or solopreneur is starting out, their office can be…literary anywhere. Coffee shop, park bench, friends’ house; you’re not limited by location at all. If you’re a true online business this shouldn’t be a problem as hopefully all your software is stored in the cloud. If this is the case, then a VPN service allows you to securely access company data and software from anywhere without having to connect to public Wi-Fi which can result in a major data breach. Most VPN providers will also provide access to logging data which enables you to know who is using their VPNs and for what purpose.
Working from anywhere is one of the key drawcards of being an entrepreneur; having a VPN in place ensures you can have this privilege and maintain peace of mind that data is secure.
When starting out, entrepreneurs will find that contractors and freelancers come and go. It’s a bit of a revolving door when getting started. The concern with this is that company data is transferring hands quite regularly with people across the globe. Having a VPN set up can help allay these fears and let you get on with running your business efficiently.
If you’re ready to take control of your online business activities, it’s time to find a VPN that suits your business needs. To grow and succeed in online business you need privacy, security and anonymity for your staff and key stakeholders. Take advantage of all the internet has to offer; put in place a VPN solution that gives you peace of mind and lets you focus on growing your business and taking it to where you want it to be.
The good news is that a good VPN only cost you as little as $3 a month. I’d highly recommend NordVPN. PCMag rated NordVPN as outstanding and has selected it as Editors’ Choice VPN two years in a row. It is the only VPN service provider to get all checks on PCMag’s website.
NordVPN also works on all major platforms such as: Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, Linux, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.