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Help Prevent a Cyber Attack on Your Small Business With This Simple Tool

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Help Prevent a Cyber Attack on Your Small Business With This Simple Tool

A cyber attack can wreak havoc on a Small Business. From phishing attacks to malware and ransomware, threats to businesses could compromise data security, intellectual property, and the bottom line.

A Virtual Private Network (or VPN) could be just the solution for companies looking for an effective, inexpensive way to boost their existing online security. However, it’s important to note that a VPN does not take the place of firewalls or other security measures – a VPN plays more of a supporting role.

I’ve taken a look at some of the online risks faced by businesses and how a VPN could benefit your business.

Online risks faced by businesses.

Small businesses face a combination of online risks, regardless of the industry they’re operating in.

Does your business rely on SaaS, online storage, and other cloud-enabled tools? The answer is probably yes. With an explosion in cloud adoption by businesses, increasing volumes of data is shared and stored online. This could raise the risk of malicious attacks and other data breaches.

Your business likely deals with some type of customer data as well as sensitive business information. At the same time, cyber attacks by foreign governments, malicious companies, and hackers are on the rise. Loss or breach of sensitive, confidential data is a real threat for businesses.

 Theft of data could be just one of the outcomes. Your business could experience disruption to operations, reputation damage, and economic losses.

Security benefits of VPNs for businesses.

VPNs could offer powerful security benefits for your small business, just as they do for consumer users.

VPNs allow you and your staff to use the internet as normal through a private channel, a virtual peer-to-peer connection. Your ISP can see you’ve connected to the VPN but will be unable to see and log what you’re doing online.

Your data is encrypted and sent to the VPN’s server before it goes to the end destination, whether that’s a website, email service, or some other third party. For example, if you use a UK-based VPN and visit a website, the website will believe you’re based in the UK rather than Australia.

Providers offer VPNs as a subscription service; your business only needs to download the software, and the app will establish the private channel through the vendor’s servers. 

Note VPNs are completely legal to use in Australia, unless, of course, you’re using your VPN service to do something illegal. However, the law can change quickly especially when it comes to technology regulation, so stay up to date to ensure your business is always operating within legal boundaries.

1. Encryption.

Encryption is one of the major security benefits of VPNs for small businesses.

Whether you’re dealing with private customer data, valuable business know-how or other sensitive data, encryption lowers the risk of a data breach.

If you have mobile workers or your staff sometimes access the internet from public Wi-Fi (such as in airports and cafes), your business and customer data could be at risk of a cyber attack. Telecommuting staff and virtual support staff can also come with similar risks as they don’t use your business’s internet.

With VPN-based encryption, the risks associated with working on public networks is lower, and you don’t have to establish expensive networking infrastructure or systems.

Additionally, businesses can also use VPNs to connect their different offices securely, allowing their geographically disparate sites to work together through the private tunnel.

A strong commitment to data security can be a business selling point, building customer trust in your business. At the same time, data breaches and compromises could damage your reputation and potentially make your business liable for losses and harm.

With a VPN, you can safely share sensitive information like customer data and business know-how over the internet.

2. Added protection from a malicious cyber attack.

You might believe your small business is quite safe with a firewall and malware protection software. However, VPNs could offer an additional layer of security. VPNs could safeguard your business and staff from Wi-Fi spoofing and other security issues, and they could significantly lower the risk of a security breach or cyber attack. 

Since your IP address is hidden, it’s harder for malicious attackers – including ransomware attackers – to target your business specifically.

Some reputable VPN providers also automatically block questionable URLs, further securing your business from potential attacks.

3. Privacy.

VPNs shield your location by hiding your IP address, and they make it just about impossible to trace where you’re located, reducing the risk of a cyber attack.

This means third parties can’t learn anything about your business from your internet traffic and as a result, they cannot target your business specifically. In this way, the privacy benefits are intertwined with security and safety.

A word on the potential drawbacks of VPNs here: VPNs can range widely in their quality and terms, so pick your provider carefully. A free or cheap VPN could be gathering your data and selling it, and they could even sell your bandwidth. Check to see whether the VPN stores your usage data and make sure you review their policies on data collection and sharing.

For small business usage, you’ll probably also want to make sure the VPN is user-friendly, offers high-speed connections and unlimited bandwidth, and supports multiple devices.

Using a VPN could enhance online security for your business by hiding your IP and encrypting all your data. This can be valuable for any small business, but it’s particularly beneficial if your staff sometimes work on a mobile or telecommuting basis.

As long as you take time to find a reputable VPN provider, you can reap all the advantages of providing your team with a VPN service.

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