We live in the Age of Data, and all small businesses need to realize what this means for security. If companies fail to understand how to protect their own and customers’ data, the results can be fatal. Take Yahoo for example. In 2013, the tech company “lost” 3 billion customer records to cyber-criminals. A couple of years later, Verizon snapped up the once-massive search and email operator for a bargain-basement price.

Poor data security cost Yahoo dearly, and the problems are even more serious for small businesses. However, we’ll also discuss how to avoid data disasters by choosing the best VPN for small business. But before we get there, let’s lay out some of the reasons why your small enterprise might want to renovate its data protection practices.

1. Data security and reputation are inseparable

Reputation really matters for small businesses. If you’re working in a closely-knit sector, information can spread quickly via word of mouth and social networks. Companies that were squeaky clean one moment can suddenly fund themselves shunned by all of their customers if rumors start to swirl.

Data protection breaches are one of the most common reasons for sudden reputational damage. According to some statistics, 60% of companies that are targeted by cyber attackers go out of business within a couple of years.

Larger businesses can absorb the blow of betraying their customers, but that’s rarely the case for SMEs. If your systems are breached and data leaks into the Dark Web, you won’t be in a position to pay compensation or rebuild your reputation. When trust evaporates, it’s usually gone for good.

2. Data breaches are expensive

Data breaches are expensive

Aside from the massive cost of reputational damage, poor data security is actually more expensive than choosing to start VPN business plans or fine tune your network systems to filter out malware.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, companies have to spend an average of $690,000 following cyber-attacks.

When you look at the bigger picture, the cost of poor security is vast. Estimates for the cost of cyber-attacks to the US economy range from $57 billion to $108 billion. Either way you look at it, that’s a lot of money that companies (particularly small businesses) shouldn’t have to lose.

3. Improving data security has wider benefits

While poor data security has immediate financial penalties, small businesses often fail to appreciate the upsides of beefing up their data practices. In almost all cases, companies that integrate good security are generally superior to those that don’t.

When you bring in VPNs, rigorous employee training, tight protocols for remote working, proper data storage systems, and audit trails for security checks, the knowledge and experience gained has a knock-on effect. It spills across the company, leveling up staff members and making your IT systems more efficient.

Part of this is due to a change of emphasis. Companies which prioritize data security are often more focused on serving customers by protecting their data, and have a tighter emphasis on planning and staff engagement. They don’t let things drift until disaster strikes. Because they are proactively managing risks, these companies are more responsive and effective in a whole host of areas.

How can you improve your data security? Some easy solutions for small businesses

Improve your data security

All of the above reasons should provide enough incentives to improve the way your business handles data. But turning motivation into reality isn’t always easy. From the start of the process, data security can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The best place to start is by investing in a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) like ExpressVPN or NordVPN for business. These tools are fundamental to any effective small business solutions, so we’ll need to look at them in more detail.

Bring in the best VPN for small business security – you won’t regret it

Why are VPNs so important for small businesses with data security worries? Actually, there are a number of reasons:

1. They facilitate safe remote working – Many small businesses would like to allow staff to work remotely. For instance, sales organizations can benefit hugely from providing field teams with point of sale technology and access to sales databases. VPNs allow remote workers to connect to central offices securely. Because they encrypt data safely, VPNs ensure that confidential data remains private from end-to-end, allowing staff to be much more flexible when connecting to HQ.

2. All communications are more secure – Remote workers aren’t the only beneficiaries of the encryption offered by VPNs. The whole organization can benefit from a VPN shield, ensuring that accounting information won’t leak when transmitted to and from third party portals. Any emails from customers will remain confidential, and planning documents can be stored behind impregnable walls, ensuring that competitors can’t get a headstart on what your company intends to do next.

3. IT protection – VPNs don’t just provide privacy via encryption. They also act as an effective protection against many forms of malware and cyber-crime. For instance, if your connections are all anonymized, it’s much tougher for attackers to mount man-in-the-middle attacks which harvest customer payment details.

4. Value – The alternatives to VPNs are often much more expensive than the off the shelf VPN cost for business customers. Bringing in contractors to install bespoke private networks is much more expensive and delivers few benefits that you won’t get when you start VPN business plans. And, as noted earlier, the cost of not having data protection systems can be huge.

How to choose the best VPN for small business needs

small business

As you can see, there are very good reasons to install a VPN to protect your small business. But that still leaves the implementation phase. Thankfully, if you choose the right VPN, setting up strong data protection systems should be simple.

Here are some things to look for when making your VPN decision:

1. Customer support – This is absolutely crucial. Small businesses all have different structures and needs, and it can take time to find the ideal VPN setup. With providers like NordVPN for business, you’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager to handle all of your needs.

2. Think twice about free VPN solutions for small business organizations – While you don’t want to pay over the odds for a small business VPN, free VPN solutions for small business customers are generally to be avoided. Don’t cut corners here. Free VPNs tend to be much less watertight and can collect information from you and your customers. So when you calculate the VPN cost for business operations, bear that in mind.

3. Does it scale? – Hopefully, as your business thrives, it will grow. When it does, your VPN will have to grow too, adding more IPs and devices. Some VPNs might seem attractive at first, but charge more as you expand. Others offer discounts for extra connections, knowing that small businesses don’t stand still. They are the ones to choose.

4. Solid encryption – Always go for a VPN with “military-grade” or 256 bit AES encryption, and a wide choice of protocols as well. Anything less is playing with fire.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN service logo

Despite being known for its personal VPN, that doesn’t mean to say ExpressVPN doesn’t deliver on its business features. Military grade-encryption is another big draw, alongside great security and an automatic kill switch.

But their qualities are merely part of what makes this equation. ExpressVPN comes with 24/7 customer support, compatibility with mobile devices and a free seven day trial of these services.

2. TorGuard

TorGuard service logo

TorGuard has access to a quite staggering 3,000 servers in 50 countries, meaning if you subscribe to it you’ll be certain to locate a server of choice. Choose how many connections you want based on your current business capacity, with the luxury of selecting either 10 or 50+ connections.

This service comes with encrypted email accounts too, alongside a dedicated server for customer accounts. Businesses can choose up to 30 IP addresses and can access a VPN administrator whenever necessary.

Install your VPN on multiple apps and rest assured with a stealthy setup that can unblock content you’d be restricted from viewing otherwise. Regional content like business apps and Skype will be fully unrestricted too.

Get your free trial today if you fancy giving it a go.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN service logo

For fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth at an affordable price, NordVPN is universally recognized for excellence. That’s because NordVPN operates under customer first principles, which often does translate to great customer service and easy operation.

NordVPN has over 5,000 servers in 62 countries, and its versatility has overtaken many rivals. Additionally, you can easily customize your service to create a level of personalization that’s suitable.

Worried about being left in the dark on those technical issues? Make the most of 24/7 support from a team of experts who are always on hand to attend. If it seems right down your street, sample NordVPN on a three-day trial and you won’t have to pay a penny.

4. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield service logo

This is a very popular option if there are multiple devices to be connected within your network. Why? Well, Hotspot Shield allows you to connect up to 20 devices at the same time if you cash in on their Hotspot Shield Business deal.

Like with all other VPNs on this list, enjoy impressive speeds and an increased focus on online security. Its no-logs policy and 256-bit encryption protocol help users retain their privacy, while staff can easily interact with a user-friendly admin portal.

Hotspot comes with round the clock support via online chat, and 45-day money back guarantee if you’re not pleased.

5. Perimeter 81

Gain access to an extensive array of on-demand servers, all of which have their own dedicated IP addresses.

Perimeter 81 has been distinguished as a great tool for businesses of all sizes, a huge incentive for upcoming business aficionados.  Cloud applications are permissible with a single click, and its interface is very easy to use.

As with all VPNs on this list, you’ll gain access to 24/7 priority customer support, where the emphasis is placed on satisfying the ambitions of the consumer. This comes with military-grade encryption, automatic wifi protection, a no-logs policy, and 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.

With Perimeter 81 you’ll appreciate the level of protection they offer, something that ensures your information never falls into the wrong hands. Perimeter 81 has also been gaining lots of momentum in recent times.

Make the right choice and keep your data security as tight as possible

Small businesses cannot afford to economize when it comes to data protection. Customers won’t tolerate data breaches, and companies which fail to invest in protective measures will eventually be found out.

So, remove the risk from the equation. Do a little research about the right VPN cost for business, and make a selection from the VPN elite. As competitors suffer data catastrophes and fall by the wayside, you won’t regret spending more to ensure total security.