Business VPN: What Is It and Which One Should You Consider?

Illustration of a laptop screen displaying VPN software toggled to on.
VPNs help you stay in business!

As working remotely continues to set a new working practice, business VPNs are even more in demand. In brief, a virtual private network (VPN) helps establish security through traffic encryption in a private network. Essentially, you can use this to allow remote users to connect to a business’s local network. They can even join two private networks between business sites. The end-user can then access corporate services and software as if they were onsite. Business VPNs are also useful for encrypting site-to-site traffic. These are the two powerful functions of a business VPN. 

Many companies fear the uncontrolled nature of remotely connecting to an organization’s network. Often, businesses demand users to use a VPN solution that works with an integrated policy control system. That way, admins can regulate access. Some companies even set up SMS or email push notifications for their business VPN to notify the administrator of a connection request.

In this article, I’ll go through what a business VPN is, and what makes it different from other VPNs. I’ll also talk about some of the best ones on the market as of this writing. Let’s get started with what a business VPN is.

What Is a Business VPN?

A business VPN works in the exact same way as a personal VPN. To clarify, it has two different connection methods. The first method will only encrypt your end-user data up to the VPN server. In most cases of Wi-Fi MITM attacks, this is good enough to stop the hacker. This is because MITM attacks have to occur near the Wi-Fi router, as it needs to intercept the Wi-Fi connection between the router and the user. The issue with this method is that some people fear the VPN service provider has access to unencrypted traffic at the VPN server.  

To add to those fears, if the VPN server is ever compromised by cybercriminals, they’ll have access to your data. For this reason, many prefer VPNs with end-point protection. This is the connection method, and in essence, it revolves around encrypting data between the end-user and the final recipient. This connection is a VPN tunnel, where your data packets aren’t visible until it reaches the recipient. 

Now, let’s have a look at some key features that you can find in VPNs. After that, we’ll see how different a business VPN is when compared to a consumer VPN through these features.

Diagram of multiple business sites being connected by VPN tunnels that is centralized at a corporate headquarters.
A centralized business VPN using a site-to-site VPN tunnel.

Key Features of VPNs

VPNs include many features that you should consider before choosing one:

  • Encryption level: Higher bit encryption makes it more difficult to decrypt data packets. 
  • Connection method: Some VPN providers hide this information, so you need to check for it!
  • Encrypted data connection speed: The encryption level often affects this speed. 
  • Enterprise support: Businesses pay a premium to get 24/7 live support to ensure any service issues get resolved quickly.
  • Connection logs: A no-log VPN service helps stop competitors from gaining information about your business. 
  • Server locations: This can enhance your security by trusting VPN servers in reputable countries, such as the US, England, Australia, and Canada.
  • Mobile apps: Lightweight mobile encryption services can provide a complete solution.
  • Automated kill switch: This can help stop packet transmission when a VPN connection gets lost. Without it, your data is at risk as connectivity defaults to an encrypted connection.
  • Anonymous DNS server: This feature hides website addresses that aren’t already cached on your device.
  • Router support: This feature ensures all devices connected to your router have VPN encryption automatically. Router support ensures any automatic update occurs through a VPN without ever needing your attention.
  • Site-to-site: This feature helps support site-to-site traffic for multisite businesses.

Now that you know some of the key features found in VPNs, how can you use these to compare and contrast business and consumer VPNs? Read on to find out!

Consumer VPN vs. Business VPN

In recent years, the difference between home and business VPN offerings has become smaller due to a highly competitive marketplace. To this end, you can expect to have many VPN providers that meet your needs. Here’s a handy comparison table of features you can expect consumer VPNs to have compared to business VPNs, and vice versa.

Consumer VPNBusiness VPN
Encryption LevelAES 256-bit encryptionAES 256-bit encryption
Connection MethodUser to VPN encryptionVPN tunneling with end-point protection
Encrypted Data Connection Speed10 to 20% latency relative to internet connection speed10 to 20% latency relative to internet connection speed
Enterprise SupportNo, standard office hours, live support or support ticket system depending on the providerYes, 24/7 live support
Connection LogsYesNo
Server LocationsOne or more VPN servers in all major countriesMultiple VPN servers in all major countries
Mobile AppsYesYes
Automated Kill SwitchYesYes
Anonymous DNS ServerNoYes, either through DNS masking or encryption
Router SupportNoYes
Site-To-SiteNoYes
You guessed it: business VPNs are better for businesses!

Now that you know what features to look out for, let’s have a look at the 5 best business VPNs out there!

5 Best Business VPNs

1. NordVPN Teams

A VPN for any device!

Price: $7 per user per month on a one year contract

Features:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Single sign-on
  • Auto-connect
  • Site-to-site
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Dedicated IP or fixed IP address
  • Share files with end-point protection
  • 24/7 live support
  • Unlimited number of users

NordVPN is a robust solution for many businesses and home users. One of its advantages is the two-factor authentication feature that many administrators look for. It lets them ensure remote connections are really coming from the user stated in server transaction logs. NordVPN also has a good pricing model and site-to-site functionality. 

That said, it doesn’t offer a centralized administrative solution. It could be useful for SMBs where the lower number of users is easier to monitor. This puts into question the point of having site-to-site functionality when this is only useful in larger businesses where administrative VPN tools could be desirable. 

In addition, the installation doesn’t have automatic firewall optimization. This means you could be tinkering with firewalls and leaving holes by mistake if not fully integrated.

2. ExpressVPN

Is this a delivery service?

Price: $7 per user per month on a one year contract

Features:

  • 160 server locations
  • Supports all devices including routers
  • 24/7 live support
  • VPN split tunneling allows you to only encrypt some of your traffic
  • No data gets written on a hard drive
  • Private DNS 
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • No logs
  • Lightweight protocol
  • VPN for router

One advantage of this business VPN offering is that you can use it to connect to many server locations worldwide. In turn, this reduces your likelihood of having VPN connections drop from an overused VPN server. 

ExpressVPN has many useful features including a no-log policy to help hide who you’re doing business with. It also supports routers and connected devices. That means all networked traffic gets encrypted. This is important for companies that use IoT devices that are normally produced to meet price points, not security. Hackers can easily gain access to an IoT device using an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection, as firmware and installation passwords are normally standardized. 

Unfortunately, ExpressVPN isn’t ideal for companies larger than an SMB. That said, this is a tempting VPN offering at a great price point for any small business.

3. PureVPN

PureVPN logo with PureVPN written next to it on the right.
This logo looks like it’s part key and part lock!

Price: $3.24 (70% discount) or $10 (without discount) per user per month on a one year contract

Features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Internet kill switch
  • Dedicated IP
  • No log
  • Split tunneling
  • Port forwarding (access devices remotely)
  • DDoS protection (additional fee)
  • IP address masking
  • DNS leak protection including IPv6
  • P2P file sharing protection
  • 10Gbit VPN server speeds
  • Works on all devices
  • VPN for router
  • 24/7 live support

PureVPN has a whole host of features not present in NordVPN or ExpressVPN. It’s a better option in general as a business VPN. For instance, port forwarding can be useful to allow remote workers to leverage server solutions or access file archives. If you work with large media files, CAD software, or anything else that needs more power than a desktop, then this can be a cost-effective solution. 

DDoS protection is also useful if you have public-facing servers that host websites. Often, you won’t see this as part of a business VPN offering; the same goes for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. 

It seems that PureVPN is trying to give you one integrated enterprise solution. Where PureVPN falls short, though, is site-to-site connectivity and a centralized control system. This may be a problem for anything other than SMBs that reside on a single site. If you’re in a mid-sized business, this may hinder your growth. Then, you’ll eventually have to look for a more complete multi-site business VPN solution that offers centralized VPN administrative tools. 

Another downside to PureVPN is that it doesn’t have a two-factor authentication feature, which you’ll need as your users grow with the business. 

4. Twingate 

Twingate logo with Twingate written to the right of it.
Is that logo a twin gate or two sheets of paper!

Price: $10 per user per month

Features:

  • Map network resources
  • Assign resources to approved users
  • Connect to any device
  • Split tunneling
  • User logging

Twingate is one of the best VPNs on this list for integration purposes. It also has administrative tools that you’d expect from a business VPN. The price for this solution is sensible for what it offers. 

Yet, it lacks user authentication. If Twingate adds more enterprise features similar to PureVPN, then it’ll be an administrator’s dream to implement.

5. KerioControl

KerioControl logo with KeroControl 9.0 written to the right of it.
KerioControl logo.

Price: $26.83 per user per year

Features:

  • High availability
  • Flexible deployment
  • Integrated firewall capabilities
  • Traffic optimization walls
  • Enterprise-level support
  • Centralized administration and user logging
  • Web content filtering
  • Application filtering
  • Integrated intrusion prevention system

KerioControl is the last on our list, but it’s one of the best business VPNs around. Somehow, it has managed to get the centralized administration tool right, along with automating installation and firewall capabilities. 

You’re bound to like this business VPN as the risk of leaving holes in your firewall during the implementation process gets reduced. As a result, you won’t have to spend all day tinkering with various settings. 

KerioControl promises high availability and traffic optimization, meaning your business will likely not suffer extensive service downtime. This allows you to perform efficiently without tinkering with settings. Any drawback would be the price point for the solution, but it’s more than justified for what you get for your money. All in all, it’s a hassle-free enterprise-class VPN.

And that’s the list! Those were the 5 best business VPNs available as of me writing this article. Let’s have a quick recap.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, you’re now knowledgeable on the 5 best business VPNs out there. Out of these, KerioControl and Twingate appear to be more intuitive to integrate into a business environment. This is mostly either due to them having an integrated firewall, or the ability to modify existing firewalls to ensure the VPN works well together. 

In addition, these two, especially KerioControl, provide enterprise administrative tools that allow you to do things like changing device postures. 

That said, if you’re just starting out, any of the first three VPNs discussed will do just fine. Feel free to refer back to this article in the future should you need to!

Do you have any more questions about business VPNs? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!  

FAQ

What is a business VPN?

A business virtual private network (VPN) works exactly the same way as a consumer VPN. However, it has additional enterprise tools, better support, and higher uptime. You can use a business VPN to connect different sites together or connect end-users working remotely. Business VPNs encrypt traffic, making it difficult for packet interception to occur between the user and destination through ‘man-in-the-middle’ (MITM) attacks. This protects your business’s intellectual property, improves cybersecurity, and allows users to work as if they were onsite.  

What is split tunneling?

Split tunneling allows VPN users to decide what data gets encrypted and what doesn’t. This can be useful for large data transfers that aren’t sensitive to the operations of a business. An example would be moving a promotional video between locations that would otherwise be publicly available.

Should I care about VPN server logging?

Not really, unless you’re up to something nefarious or worried about the service provider. VPN servers, unless stated otherwise, log connections for auditing or regulatory compliance. Governments also have the legal power and tools to monitor VPN connections, either with or without logs. If you’re worried about the VPN service provider keeping logs of your traffic, use a VPN service provider that doesn’t log access. Many providers offer this feature including ExpressVPN and PureVPN.

How does 2FA work with my VPN?

You can use two-factor authentication (2FA) with some VPN service providers. That ensures the user is establishing the VPN connection, and not a cyber attacker. When a user starts their VPN, a prompt to enter a pin from the authentication method used will appear. You can use many different authentication methods including email, SMS, and security keys. Of these, security keys are the most secure. However, if lost or if it stops working, your user might need a new one issued.

Should I use a business VPN with two-factor authentication?

It’s a great idea to use two-factor authentication (2FA). Many businesses use two-factor authentication to help secure their network. Ideally, use a security key as these are the most secure; SMS and email are easier to hack.

Resources

TechGenix: Article on Azure’s Virtual Network Gateway

Learn about Azure’s virtual network gateway.

TechGenix: Article on Why VPN is Still Needed

Find out why VPNs are still needed in the modern world.

TechGenix: Article on WARP vs VPN

Discover WARP and DNS obfuscation compared to VPN security measures.

TechGenix: Article on Double VPNs

Get information about the latest trend of using double VPNs.

TechGenix: Article on Tor vs VPN

Understand the differences between Tor and VPN for security.

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