No VPN? Why your company needs one and how to pick the best provider

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A virtual private network is a critical element in your cybersecurity strategy to keep your users, data, and network secure.

With so many remote workers, using a virtual private network (VPN) is an important security practice for companies of all sizes. Along with robust password rules and two-factor authentication, VPNs are critical to protecting your network and your data from compromise. If your company hasn't added this layer of cybersecurity defense to your network, it's time to do so. 

SEE: Comparison chart for VPN service providers (TechRepublic Premium) 

As Brandon Vigliarolo explains on TechRepublic, there are four good reasons to use a VPN on a regular basis. VPNs can:

  • Anonymize internet traffic
  • Provide a tunnel into a work network
  • Protect traffic on public Wi-Fi networks
  • Test online content from other countries

Tech companies have started to make it easier for users to protect their traffic with a VPN. Mozilla offers a service to protect Windows and mobile devices. Android users can take advantage of the Google One VPN. This service hides your IP address to prevent third-parties from tracking you and doesn't use the connection to track or log your activity. 

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SEE: VPN Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Microsoft is developing an alternative to the Windows VPN, Microsoft Tunnel. This service is designed for iOS, iPadOS, and Android Enterprise devices. It allows IT departments to lock down access to devices that comply with security policies, which can reduce the risk of intrusion and data leakage. This should be particularly helpful for users who use the same devices for work and personal activities. 

Selecting a VPN provider

Now that you understand why you need a VPN, the next step is to pick a vendor. Rae Hodge on CNET has reviewed many VPN services for Macs, Android devices, and iPhones. Her suggestions for picking a service include:

  • Don't use free VPN services
  • Look for a no-log VPN but understand the limitations
  • Consider providers that are outside the US

TechRepublic Premium's Comparison chart for VPN service providers will help you make an informed choice.  This quick-glance chart rounds up 15 of the top contenders and compares them across eight criteria such as OpenVPN support, pricing, connections, and logging. There's plenty of room to add additional criteria and vendors to make sure you're measuring the things that matter.

You may want to consider speed as well when selecting a VPN. Some providers offer a kill switch feature that prevents network data from leaking outside of the secure VPN tunnel if the VPN connection fails.

Setting a VPN policy

Once you've selected a provider, you'll need a VPN policy to go along with it. TechRepublic Premium's VPN policy outlines a set of best practices for IT to deploy and secure virtual private networks in your organization. It also defines acceptable use policies for end users on corporate-issued and personal devices. The VPN use policy also covers subsidies for internet connectivity, monitoring, and penalties. 

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