Big corporations usually operate their own VPN services. But small and medium-sized businesses lack the IT resources to set up and maintain a safe and private VPN.
Fortunately, a few consumer VPN companies have branched out into the enterprise world to cater to this underserved market. A typical consumer VPN might work in some cases, but businesses often need secure access to a server where they can host documents, apps, and other office resources for staff to access remotely.
A VPN is the best way to secure data in transit. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts and secures all the internet traffic flowing between a laptop or smartphone and the VPN server. That makes it very hard for nosy hackers to pry into confidential data. Given that Microsoft found the average cost of a business data breach to be $3.8 million and one-fifth of small businesses suffered a hack, virus, or data breach in 2019, security is a big deal.
We get into plenty of detail on each of the providers below, but in case you only have time for a quick glance, below is a summary of the best VPNs for businesses.
Best Business VPNs:
- Perimeter 81 Our #1 choice VPN for business. Servers are capable of fast and stable connections that can handle all kinds of network traffic including SSH, RDP, VNC, and Telnet. You can even set up site-to-site VPNs.
- NordVPN Teams Specialist business VPN popular with small and medium sized organizations.
- Twingate Business VPN which caters to remote teams with SSO support, split tunneling, zero-trust access, and private gateways.
- Windscribe Budget business VPN option with top security features, easy to use apps and centralized billing option. Good documentation but lacks 24/7 support.
- CyberGhost Great value service with secure apps that are easy to install and get started. Some of the fastest servers we have tested.
- IPVanish Fast servers with secure and reliable connections. User friendly apps. Would prefer 24hr support.
- ExpressVPN Extensive network of fast servers. High-grade encryption and even works great in China and the UAE. Not the cheapest option on this list.
While there are many providers to choose from, not every VPN service is comparable. Our top picks for the best VPN for business are ranked on the following factors:
- Offers services that cater specifically to businesses
- Speed and stability
- Strong security
- Number of simultaneous connections
- Apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS
Best VPNs for Business
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Perimeter 81 is a specialist business VPN. It allows businesses to deploy private VPN servers that staff can securely connect to from anywhere in the world. You can easily manage network activity for your entire staff without an IT degree from an online dashboard. This will allow employees to securely access files, apps, and other resources securely from remote locations.
Perimeter 81 caters to businesses with unique security features like network segmentation to isolate sensitive data from breaches. If your business has offices in different locations, you can set up site to site VPNs to connect the two networks. Cloud VPNs allow remote access and can easily be scaled up as needed.
All data is encrypted with 256-bit AES. If you don’t deploy your own VPN, you can choose from 700 public servers in 36 locations around the world. Businesses can monitor access to the VPN by logging and inspecting all traffic that passes through it.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Chrome.
- Caters specifically to businesses
- Deploy your own server or choose from public ones
- Supports site-to-site VPNs
- Host apps and files on the VPN server
- Strong encryption
- Supports network segmentation
- Not the cheapest option in this list
Best VPN for Business:Perimeter 81 is our #1 choice. The ‘Advanced Cloud VPN’ is a dedicated feature custom-built for business use. A large network of fast servers that are extremely customizable. Suitable for most business purposes and allows 5 simultaneous connections. Includes a 30-day money back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
Nord Teams is NordVPN’s business-focused service for small to medium sized businesses. You can easily set up secure remote access to both the office network and to the internet. Every user account can be managed from a single, centralized control panel. You can tunnel connections from work devices through 33 different countries. Adding users is easy and won’t complicate billing.
Third-party authentication works with GSuite, OneLogin, Okta, And Azure. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. Strong encryption and a kill switch ensures your organization’s data is protected at all times. Nord Teams promises to assist businesses that need support in less than three hours.
- Fast and reliable connections
- Military-grade 256-bit encryption for great privacy
- Strict no-logs policy ideal for privacy-conscious users
- Unlimited bandwidth and no data caps
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux and Android
- Desktop app can take some getting used to
GREAT LOW COST VPN:Nord Teams offers great value. A real contender in all categories, has strong security features, fast speeds, and simple billing for businesses.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
Twingate is a new VPN business with some interesting features that set it apart from others in this list. Twingate is a cloud-based service that differentiates itself from traditional VPN solutions thanks to zero-trust access control and making gateways invisible to the internet. Twingate can be deployed without changing network infrastructure and is easily scaled.
Twingate supports single sign on (SSO) so that staff can only access the resources that IT admins give them. That includes on-cloud and on-premises apps and remote networks. Split tunneling allows traffic to pass through the network only if necessary, while more bandwidth-intensive activities like video calls go through a direct connection.
- Zero-trust access control
- Supports most major single sign-on (SSO) providers
- Easily deployed
- Split tunneling
- Not a VPN, strictly speaking
EASY DEPLOYMENT:Twingate is a trustless solution for remote teams that use SSO. A 14-day free trial is on offer at time of writing.
Money-back guarantee: 3 DAYS
Windscribe has an offering tailored specifically for teams and businesses, named ScribeForce. This is a low-cost service, ideal for business-owners on a budget. The plan gives you all features of a Windscribe Pro plan which includes access to over 600 servers in more than 50 countries. You also get centralized billing and a panel from you can configure and manage your entire team.
Windscribe offers fast speeds and top-notch security. It uses 256-bit encryption with perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch, and DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection. A new feature blocks ads and malware on all devices. The service doesn’t log any information that can identify you.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Currently, an unlimited number of devices can be connected under each plan.
- App has a native firewall that blocks all non-VPN traffic to avoid data leaks
- Low-cost budget option for businesses
- Blocks ads and malware on all devices
- Works in China
- Fast server speeds and reliable connections
- No true live chat will frustrate some users
BEST BUDGET BUSINESS VPN:Windscribe hits good speeds. Solid for business use. Stores no logs and uses tunneling techniques for good security and privacy. Lacks true 24/7 support. 3-day money back guarantee.
Check out our full review of Windscribe.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
There’s no dedicated business VPN option available at Romania-headquartered CyberGhost. But it makes the best VPN for business list due to its affordability and number of simultaneous connections in paid accounts.
This provider has been adding new servers at a frenetic pace. Currently, there are about 3,800 servers spread across 60 countries but we expect this to keep going up in the medium term. The additional benefit for businesses is that it has an internal policy of not storing any data logs so the content of communications should remain hidden, even from system administrators at the company. There are apps for both Android and iOS as well as desktop support for Windows and MacOS. A single account allows for five simultaneous connections.
This VPN service uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. There’s also an internet kill switch which means web traffic will be halted if the connection drops unexpectedly.
Seven devices can connect at the same time with one account.
- Some of the fastest servers we’ve tested
- Kill switch on all apps and keeps no logs
- Budget provider that doesn’t compromise on security and privacy
- Apps are easy to install and use
- Not suitable for those that need control of advanced features
- Doesn’t unblock all major streaming sites
BEGINNERS' CHOICE:CyberGhost is easy to use. Great privacy with zero logs and DNS leak protection. Unblocks popular streaming platforms and restricted services. 45-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
At the moment there are more than 1,300 servers spread across the world with a decent selection in each continent. Encryption standards are similarly impressive. IPVanish uses 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. An internet kill switch is available in all clients.
There are apps for both iOS and Android as well as desktop programs for Windows and MacOS. One account allows for five simultaneous connections.
- Impressive speeds and reliable connections
- A fairly thorough knowledge base is searchable on the company website
- DNS and IPv6 leak protection, traffic obfuscation, and a kill switch are all built in
- Look elsewhere if you need to use apps in China
- Doesn’t offer any browser extensions
FAST AND RELIABLE:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Uncongested network achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features. Could do with having live customer support. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has over 1,500 server locations spread across 94 countries, which means it’s a pretty good choice for employees that might have to travel frequently or work remotely. The largest selection is in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific with a smaller number in Africa and the Middle East.
The VPN service is a firm favorite with users as it offers fast speeds coupled with military-grade encryption. Privacy-conscious users will be happy that ExpressVPN does not store any traffic logs. The only tiny bit of metadata retention pertains to the date (not time) of connection, choice of server location, and total bandwidth used.
It helps that ExpressVPN’s headquarters are in the British Virgin Islands and it therefore doesn’t have to comply with any mandatory data retention laws. This means it’s also out of the jurisdiction of western government agencies.
Encryption standards are stringent. The provider utilizes 256-bit AES-CBC as its default encryption protocol as well as both HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. There’s an internet kill switch included, which the company refers to as a ‘network lock’.
It’s not very generous when it comes to simultaneous connections, however, with a maximum of three devices allowed on a single plan.
Apps are available for both iOS and Android as well as desktop software for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
- High speeds for downloading and video streaming
- Solid privacy and security
- Great capabilities for unblocking geo-locked content
- Only permits 3 simultaneous connections
- Slightly more expensive than some other options
- Power-users may find the advanced options limited
GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:ExpressVPN holds its own. A fast and reliable choice which confidently unblocks most restricted sites. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. One of the few VPNs to work in China and the UAE. If you need more than 3 simultaneous connections, look higher up this list. 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
Business VPN FAQ
Why do I need a business VPN?
Businesses can use a VPN for two main things: secure access to the internet and connecting to a company server where employees can securely access files, apps, and other company resources.
A VPN creates an encrypted connection over the internet between two devices, typically a smartphone or laptop and a server. The encryption prevents third parties such as hackers, governments, and internet service providers from snooping on data as it passes between these two devices. This is particularly useful for remote employees who need secure internet access from unprotected networks at hotels, airports, and cafes.
A VPN can also allow staff to safely access files, documents, apps, printers, and other resources on the VPN server as if they were on a local network. For instance, an employee could connect to an app on the VPN server to write and edit documents without ever downloading those documents to their own device.
How do I set up a VPN for my business?
Setting up a VPN is pretty easy. Employees will need to download the VPN provider's app on their laptop and/or smartphone. They can then use the app to connect to the VPN server, which will encrypt all of the data before it leaves the device.
If you're running your own VPN server, you can store files or host apps on it that employees can only access while connected. You'll need some way to manage user credentials---either passwords or some other sort of key. Thankfully, the business-oriented VPNs we recommend above will take care of most of this for you.
Should I use a free business VPN?
A free VPN service sounds like an attractive option for businesses looking to cut back on expenses and avoid unnecessary overheads. But we must warn you that this process entails a significant degree of risk.
Free VPNs won’t have large server networks spread across the world, stringent encryption standards, or speedy connections that are a staple with paid options. The weak encryption means your business might be susceptible to a hacking attempt and a real threat of data loss. Slow speeds will result in longer wait times for file transfers or connections to remote company servers.
In some cases, free VPN services have also forcefully inserted tracking cookies, mined user data, and sold it to advertisers for a profit. We’re pretty sure you wouldn’t want that to happen to your employees which is why we think it’s in your best interest to skip them.
How do VPNs protect remote employees?
The internet has helped break down barriers to communication, bring people closer together, and democratize access to information. Businesses are no longer restricted to the talent available in their city/town - they can scour the globe for employees and use remote workers to scale.
Such trends are now catching on. Currently, it is estimated that about 2.8 percent of the global workforce now works from home. The figure represents an increase of 105% from 2005. And after the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for remote work looks very likely to increase.
For businesses that hire remote workers, it’s crucial that their data is protected and encrypted. This keeps it away from any malicious entity that might be trying to snoop in. A VPN will help mitigate these risks to a considerable degree.
At the same time, employees are traveling for off-site meetings, sales visits, and other business needs. They might be connecting to public wifi in coffee shops, malls, hotels, or cafes. Such networks aren’t considered to be incredibly secure. Hundreds of people are connected at any given time, representing a security hazard.
Read our guide on how to navigate public wifi networks safely and securely.
Another factor to consider is the rising threat of cybercrime - specifically corporate espionage. The most common ways of achieving this are email and credit card theft with hackers keen to target the weakest links in the chain. These are mainly employees that use their personal phones for business tasks as well as other unsecured devices connected to the network.
In 2014, more than 16 million mobile devices worldwide were infected by malware according to Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Security Labs. Companies lost over US$400 billion to cybercrime the same year. A routine method is for hackers to try and target smartphones as a way of entering the system. From there they can breach firewalls and carry out denial-of-service attacks to steal data.
It's not just large companies coming under attack and small businesses are feeling the impact too. A Malwarebytes ransomware report revealed findings that 22% of small businesses hit by ransomware attacks actually had to immediately cease operations.
In such a scenario it makes perfect sense to cough up a few dollars each month to secure your business. As long as your employees have VPN apps installed on their laptops and phones you can sleep easier at night.
What should I look for in a business VPN?
First off, we recommend you use a VPN that is intended specifically for business use. This will ensure it has the necessary functionality and security, and meets regulatory compliance standards.
Businesses should consider a few factors when weighing different VPN options:
- Cloud or self-hosted? Most of the VPNs we recommend above operate in the cloud. This makes them much easier to set up, manage, and scale. You can host files and apps on the cloud VPN server, which employees can remotely access using VPN apps. Alternatively, you can host your own VPN server either in the cloud or on-site, but know that doing so will require more IT resources and expertise.
- A good dashboard. It might seem superficial, but a well-designed dashboard for managing VPN accounts and access privileges across your business will go a long way in keeping employees connected and secured.
- Site-to-site: Employees aren't the only ones who can use a VPN. You can create a secure tunnel between two networks with a VPN as well. This is called a site-to-site VPN, and it's useful for businesses with multiple offices, for instance.
- Scalability: If you plan on going on a hiring spree, make sure your VPN can keep up. Adding and removing access and accounts to the VPN server should be easy. Keep an eye on the price as well.
- Security: This goes without saying, but be sure to choose a secure VPN. That means strong encryption, leak prevention, authentication, and a no-logs policy from the VPN provider. Keep an eye out for features like two-factor authentication, perfect forward secrecy, and modern, open-source VPN protocols.
- Segmentation: By dividing your network into smaller parts, you can better protect critical data while still allowing access to other files and apps.
- Support: If you're choosing one of the VPNs we recommended, you probably aren't certified as a network administrator. That means you might encounter issues for which you'll need help. Be sure to choose a VPN with knowledgeable and prompt---preferably live---customer support. Some support is limited to the business hours of the country in which the VPN is based, so be sure to check when support is available.
Some VPNs to avoid
When you opt for a business VPN, you’d like to think that the provider will do all it can to safeguard data and protect your company from external threats. VPN providers have a moral responsibility to fulfill their side of the bargain. But not all companies hold this principle dear — we feel you should refrain from using them.
Israel-based Hola, which operated a free peer-to-peer VPN extension for Chrome, once had a user base of almost 50 million. Unfortunately, it deployed the machines it was installed on as pawns in a massive botnet army.
A part of Hola users’ individual bandwidth was used to engage in things like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, promoting pirated content, and distributing pornography. And that’s without any user consent whatsoever.
On top of all that, speeds are slow and servers are unreliable. Betternet has very little to offer consumers, and even less for businesses.
Media reports have stated that well-known paid VPN provider PureVPN collaborated with the FBI to identify Massachusetts resident Ryan Lin, believed to be stalking an unnamed 24-year-old woman.
Ryan had allegedly used PureVPN to cover his tracks while attempting to blackmail the woman. The FBI roped in PureVPN after a complaint was lodged.
For its part, PureVPN insists that it didn’t record the content of Ryan’s communications while connected to its servers, but the company did boast of a ‘no-logs’ policy prior to this episode.