Working From Home? This Is Why You Need A VPN (+ 2 Reasons to Avoid A ‘Free’ One)

Working From Home? This Is Why You Need A VPN (+ 2 Reasons to Avoid A ‘Free’ One)

In Uncategorized by bertie

If you work from anywhere that isn’t your company’s office, a VPN is your best friend.

There’s simply no better way to keep your data secure. A VPN, or virtual private network, transfers information over an encrypted network so that no would-be hacker (or general snooper) can access it.

This makes VPNs the perfect tool for anyone who prefers the nomadic lifestyle. Equally, with the current ‘shelter in place’ mandate, a virtual private network can help keep your business safe as employees log in to your corporate network from hundreds of potentially insecure, remote locations.

  • No more worrying if third-party applications have the right security configuration
  • No more fretting if a vulnerable email client might let hackers in through the backdoor

Simply download a VPN, get your colleagues to do the same — and anyone can work from anywhere.

Working From Home With A VPN

Let’s quickly cover how a VPN works in the home environment. 

All it takes is for a user to log in to your corporate network via the chosen VPN client, and they’re good to go.

It really is as simple as that. The VPN guarantees a secure connection by using a previously confirmed detail — such as a password, IP address, or SSL certificate. But all this happens in the background.

There’s no need for technical expertise when it comes to using a VPN at home. All employees need to know is they’re accessing company resources via a secure, encrypted connection — meaning they can feel confident looking at whatever information they need, no matter how sensitive the data might be.

Setting Up A VPN At Home

There’s no real difficulty in setting up a VPN at home. 

It’s a matter of downloading your preferred VPN client (you can browse our top-5 recommended VPNs here). Then, you need to create a virtual connection between your laptop or home desktop — and your corporate office.

If that last part sounds tricky, it’s really not. You just need to configure a few settings in the client. And most small businesses should be fine to work with an out-the-box solution. 

However, if your business is larger (or has particular technical requirements), you might want to research setting up a custom network instead of paying for a general-purpose product. Admittedly, that may be a more specialist task for an IT service department to handle.

Do VPNs Work On Smartphones And Tablets?

Yes, of course, they do! 

After all, it’s increasingly rare for people to work on a single device. In fact, many people barely pick up a laptop these days. That’s why VPNs typically work as well on tablets and smartphones as they do on any desktop or laptop. That said, there may be considerations around the level of protection you get on certain operating systems, so always check product specifications.

Provided the VPN can guarantee a secure connection, no matter the device — then it’s fine to use.

VPNs Are Cheaper Than You Think

Whether you end up using a VPN may come down to nothing more than the cost.

Thankfully, most VPNs come with modest price tags (especially if your business is small and your requirements aren’t too extreme). You should be able to get what you need for less than $10-a-month. And if you’re unsure which VPN to go for, most providers offer a 30-day free trial, allowing you to test out a service before making an investment.

One thing to be wary of: roaming fees can vary across providers. It’s not uncommon to see charges spiral when you’re abroad. If you have team members dotted across the globe, beware of the cost of them connecting via a VPN service.

We’ve heard uncomfortable tales of bills in the $10,000’s as employees didn’t clock the surcharge on international usage.

If It’s Free, You’ll Pay In Other Ways

We always get the question, ‘Can’t I just download a free version?’

Our answer is always the same, You can… but if it’s free, you’ll pay in other ways.”

Free-to-use VPNs typically compromise a level of your privacy, which somewhat undermines the point of using a VPN in the first place. There are two common risks when using a free VPN:

  1. Free VPN service providers often make money by selling your browsing data — even if this data is anonymized, it’s still unnerving to think a company is profiting off the information you’re trying to hide;
  2. If they’re not selling your data, they’ll likely bombard you with intrusive ads throughout the VPN client — not the best experience, particularly when you’re trying to focus on work.

It’s somewhat ironic: using a free VPN can actually harm your privacy more than protect it. Plus, there’s always the risk of a free provider choosing to switch its operating practice after you download the software… possibly leaving you unknowingly vulnerable to data-sharing or suddenly removing the secure connection altogether.

It’s a genuine possibility as when you use a free service, your rights are limited. On the other hand, if you pay for a credible VPN, the provider has a reputation to uphold — so you can have confidence you’ll always get what you need.

For those working from home, that’s a connection you know is secure, seamless, and accessible at all times.

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Get the secure connection you need to work from home. Contact Mid-coast Tech today on 207-223-7594, and we can help you set up the right VPN for you.