VPN hosting: the best way to protect your business when working remotely
As working remotely is becoming the new normal, companies have to make sure that their business-critical data remains secure – even when remote employees access it from home. This is the key driver behind the growth of hosted VPNs – private networks that protect sensitive files.
Table of contents
- Why businesses need hosted VPNs
- How VPNs work – in very few words
- What is VPN hosting?
- Understanding the difference between VPN and VPS hosting
- Where to buy VPN hosting
- How much does VPN hosting cost?
- Do you really need VPN hosting?
Why businesses need hosted VPNs
In the past 10 years, the number of people working remotely has increased by 140%. In the US alone, over 4.3 million people work from home. And with the outbreak of coronavirus, this number is bound to grow exponentially as companies around the world ask their staff to stay at home.
Remote workers routinely access their internal corporate sites, mail, and files – including sensitive data that mustn’t fall into unauthorized hands. In the past, this kind of content was accessible only from computers installed on the premises of the company – in a protected and controlled environment.
But when an employee accesses their work resources from a wifi network at home, in a coffee shop or at an airport, those sensitive files are at risk. Hackers know ways to take over devices using their IP address.
When you use unprotected networks, they can gain access to your device and steal critical data, such as financial details. For the employer, this could lead to disaster.
Here’s where virtual private networks (VPNs) come in. Before we talk about VPN hosting, let’s recall what a VPN is.
How VPNs work – in very few words
A virtual private network is a set of servers (computers) that can be located in different parts of the world. All the connections between them are securely encrypted. When you join a VPN, you also establish a secure connection with those servers.
Whenever you want to access a page, your request is sent first to the VPN via an encrypted channel. One of the servers redirects your request to the page – but under a new IP address. It will look like the request comes from the server’s country.
The result is that nobody will know where you are located and what your real IP address is. You can learn more here.
Here are the most common use cases for VPNs:
- Protecting your privacy when using public wifi;
- Visiting blocked and banned sites;
- Overcoming state-wide Internet restrictions – for example, in China;
- Downloading torrent without getting blocked by the ISP;
- Using subscriptions to streaming sites (like Netflix and Hulu) abroad;
- Corporate use – accessing corporate mail and files when out of office (at home, on a trip, etc.)
This last use case – corporate – was actually the original purpose of VPNs. Nowadays, we know this type of service as business VPN or VPN hosting.
What is VPN hosting?
Imagine you are an employer and you’d like your employees to use a VPN when they are not at the office. A huge company can afford to have its own data centers in different locations to build a VPN of its own. But for smaller businesses, the solution is to rent VPN servers.
It’s really simple. A hosting provider allocates servers that will work as your virtual private network. You don’t have to invest in any infrastructure or hire additional staff.
Understanding the difference between VPN and VPS hosting
If you search for VPN hosting, you’ll also come across lots of VPS hosting services. You might even think that they are one and the same – but they aren’t.
VPS stands for ‘virtual private server’. It means that one large server is split into several virtual compartments. They act as completely independent servers.
Here’s the key difference between VPN and VPS hosting:
– VPN hosting means that your corporate VPN network ‘lives’ on virtual servers that belong to a hosting provider. This way you don’t have to purchase your own servers;
– VPS hosting is just a way to host the website that gives you more resources and security than shared hosting.
When you host a website on a VPS, you don’t compete for disk space or speed with other sites. At the same time, you’re not renting a separate physical server. So VPS is cheaper than dedicated hosting. VPS hosting can include a VPN as an additional service. But it has a completely different purpose compared to VPS hosting.
Where to buy VPN hosting
If you need VPN hosting for your company, you’ll have to look for a specialized provider. To filter out VPN services for personal use, search for ‘business VPN’ or ‘VPN for business’.
A quality provider will offer:
- a dedicated support manager;
- servers in 20 or more countries on different continents;
- AES 256-bit encryption;
- access control – private and group gateways for different teams and executives;
- an activity log for your admin;
- 2FA authentication;
- a firewall/antivirus;
- no logging: the provider shouldn’t log your activity;
- site-to-site and remote access;
- a control panel for the VPN admin;
- cross-platform support.
How much does VPN hosting cost?
There are two ways to pay for VPN hosting:
– Pay-per-use. It’s handy if your employees mostly work from the office and only need VPN when on business trips or sick leave.
– Per a connected device or user. This is a better option for businesses with many full-time remote workers.
For example, NordVPN charges $8 or $9 per user in its basic pricing plans. If you want additional enterprise-grade features like API access and a dedicated server, you’ll need to pay extra. On PureVPN, itàs $8.45 per user – or $9.99 with a dedicated IP.
OpenVPN costs $18 per device per year. With 3 devices per employee, this works out at $4.5 per user monthly. If you buy a ‘bundle’ of many licenses – say, 100 devices – you can benefit from pay-per-use billing.
Do you really need VPN hosting?
Business VPNs are already standard practice for major companies. Corporations like Rakuten, Nvidia, Sheraton, Trivago, and Gulfstream already use VPN hosting.
What about small businesses? If any of your employees work remotely, you need to seriously think about buying a business VPN.
If you are a single entrepreneur with no employees, you’ll need a VPN service for yourself. You can buy a regular personal VPN, of course. But you’ll
Remember: as long as you or your staff use unprotected channels, your business is at grave and constant risk.