Businesses are increasingly reliant on the internet to generate leads, maintain social media profiles, and help employees with things like competitor intelligence and rapid data transfer. But not all corporations can afford sophisticated network security and dedicated teams to snuff out hacking attempts. A business VPN can quell such concerns to a considerable degree.
Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts and secures all the web traffic flowing through your device by routing it via an intermediary server. That means it’s 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, security is a big deal.
Whether it’s an enterprise or a small business, VPNs help companies safeguard themselves from cybercrime while also accounting for some other use cases such as access to public wifi. More on that later in this article.
We get into plenty of detail on each of the providers below, but in case you only have time for a quick glance, here is our list of the best VPNs for businesses:
- Perimeter 81 Our #1 choice for business. Servers are capable of fast and stable connections that can handle all kinds of network traffic. Strong encryption standards throughout and allows 5 simultaneous connected devices. Includes 30-day money back guarantee.
- Windscribe Budget business option with top security features, easy to use apps and centralized billing option. Good documentation but lacks 24/7 support.
- NordVPN Popular low-cost provider also comes with business plans. Thousands of reliable servers operating around the globe.
- 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.
The best VPN for businesses
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:
- Speed and stability
- Strong encryption protocols
- Number of simultaneous connections
- Apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS
Here are our top choices for the best VPN for business:
Perimeter 81 is SaferVPN’s business offering. They operate over 400 servers across 30 countries. That’s not bad but the important thing to consider is that there aren’t any locations in Latin America and just a handful in Africa and the Middle East. Europe and North America comprise the bulk of server options – including dedicated “streaming” servers in the US and UK which will give faster speeds.
If you’re wondering why SaferVPN tops our list as the best VPN for business, it’s because it has a dedicated business VPN product called the “Advanced Cloud VPN.” This offers features like static IP addresses, private servers, and team member management. When you sign up you’ll notice there’s a 30-day money back guarantee – that allows managers to test the service and see if it meets business requirements. Prices are $10 per team member per month with discounts available for enterprise customers.
A bit of a downside is the fact that this VPN service will record detailed metadata logs such as the IP address of the VPN server users connect to, time of connection and disconnection, and the total amount of data transferred.
There’s nothing wrong with Safer VPN’s choice of encryption standards. The provider deploys OpenVPN with 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication. These are considered top-tier so your data should remain secure.
Premium plans allow for five simultaneous connections. We’re pretty sure that the dedicated product for businesses has a larger range but the company doesn’t specify how many exactly.
Apps are available for both iOS and Android as well as desktop software for Windows and MacOS.
- Operates over 700 servers in 34 countries
- Israel based provider operates outside of US data retention laws
- You can get live support around the clock
- Above average streaming and downloading speeds
- Stores no logs or identifying information
- Apps for all major platforms
- 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.
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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.
NordVPN enjoys a stellar reputation in the VPN business due to the fact that it’s been around for over a decade and offers a well-engineered product.
There are over 5,100 servers to choose from spread across 60 countries. Europe and North America occupy the largest chunk, but there are a few options in Africa, Asia, and a couple in Latin America as well.
The company offers servers optimized for things like anti-DDoS, double VPN, and dedicated IP – guaranteeing strong encryption, stringent privacy, and fast data transfer.
NordVPN has a specialized business product, too. This includes things like dedicated VPN servers for corporations, a personal account manager, and 24/7 customer support. Premium subscriptions allow for six simultaneous connections, but the figure is probably higher for the enterprise plan.
Unlike SaferVPN, Nord doesn’t retain any metadata whatsoever. Hence there isn’t any data about user sessions, traffic, or timestamps. There have been a few official requests to hand over data in the past but there wasn’t anything on company servers that could fulfill the request.
NordVPN encrypts internet traffic via the 256-bit AES protocol by default and uses 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled. There’s support for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- 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:NordVPN offers great value. A real contender in all categories, has strong security features and allows up to 6 devices to be used simultaneously from one account. Includes 30-day money back guarantee.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
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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 offer apps for Linux or routers
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.
2. Hotspot Shield
In July free VPN provider Hotspot Shield was accused of unethical behavior such as mining user data and selling it to third-party advertisers.
The same complaint added that Hotspot Shield also hijacked legitimate HTTP requests by redirecting e-commerce traffic to partner domains where the company stood to earn profits if a sale went through.
It’s important to note that these are just allegations at the moment and haven’t been proved in a court of law yet. But we think you should hold off from using Hotspot Shield until the company is able to prove its innocence.
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.
What factors should I consider before opting for a business VPN?
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.
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.