There has been a near global surge in the use of VPNs so far during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s completely understandable as millions of workers have been sent home and directed to keep up with their tasks while on their work computers.
A good VPN – business or private — enables the user to keep their online activities within a secure and encrypted tunnel established by the VPN provider between them and the other end of that online communication. Done correctly, this also keeps the DNS addresses encrypted and out of sight.
Businesses love the VPN security and privacy advantages
Businesses love VPNs for two primary reasons. First, their ability to secure data, emails, and attached files that are travelling from Person A and Person B to Company HQ regardless of location and the connecting network. Second, they enable employees to have remote data access to the company’s secure servers – even when they are travelling far from HQ.
What is the difference between a business and private VPN?
The main difference between a business and consumer VPN is in the purpose of the technology – not what it does, explains Robin Streit, VPN product manager at Avira. The main purpose of a business VPN is to securely connect the user to a specific company network so that the user can access or transfer data within this network.
On the other hand, a private VPN ensures that the user can securely surf the web, load/upload data, and even pick the server location to access geo-restricted content anonymously. It does this by connecting the user to a secure private network from the VPN provider.
While both are providing an encrypted connection, the goals are different.
Business VPNs are a corporate tool
Because of their importance, VPNs are a baked-in feature of the business laptop. Employees usually just need to simply log in and activate the service, and they are good to go with an encrypted connection. That is the idea, at least. It’s a usually hands-off feature that works.
From the employee perspective, there isn’t much to do or remember – just press the button and maybe add a few authentication credentials – and their activities are safely encrypted inside the company’s private tunnels.
But as data shows, VPN use is way up now– and this is a performance and privacy problem. Unless companies have engineered VPN split tunneling – where internet traffic goes to a normal stream and company emails and server access goes into the VPN encrypted stream — all of that employee activity is going into that VPN stream.
This does not make a difference if people are only doing company business on that device. But, it does make a difference if people are streaming their favorite shows or doing personal activities on that company device. First, it can result in slowing the VPN service for everyone in the company. Second, people might forget that the company is potentially logging all of their activities via that VPN. A business VPN is really supporting corporate privacy and security – not that of the individual.
Boost your security at the device level with a private VPN
The easiest alternative to using a business VPN for your private activities is to simply have a separate device for your private life – and get a separate VPN for it. As Robin mentioned, there is a lot to like in having your activities encrypted and the enhanced privacy from shutting out trackers and ISPs from following your online activities. In addition, a private VPN also creates the ability to circumvent geo-IP restrictions, opening up a wider world of content and freedom.
Getting a private – and certified – private VPN is easy is as easy as downloading the Avira Phantom VPN from either the website for Windows or from Google Play for your smartphone. Just think of it as a business savvy-addition that helps your bottom-line security.