What Is a VPN Service and Which Is Best for Your Organization?

An image of a woman holding a cell phone with a VPN application displayed on the screen.
Protect you identity and data with a VPN!

Everyone wants privacy, both in the physical and digital world. Unfortunately, others can easily notice the things you do online, like your employer, companies that collect and use your data, and sometimes even governments.

If you want to stay anonymous and enjoy high privacy levels online, invest in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN service gives you the freedom to be online without worrying about prying eyes.

In this article, I’ll explain what a VPN is, how it works, the different types, what to look for when choosing one, and the top 5 VPN service providers in the market. Let’s begin with a simple definition!

What Is a VPN? 

A VPN is a service that creates an encrypted tunnel for your data to travel. This way, external entities like cybercriminals don’t intercept it during transit. Additionally, it hides your IP address, so no one knows your geolocation and can’t identify you. Both these aspects make you anonymous online. As a result, they protect your identity from watchful organizations and governments.

Besides online anonymity, VPNs also offer further kinds of protection. You can: 

  • Use public Wi-Fi safely, as your data becomes invisible to hackers and eavesdroppers
  • Access regional content from anywhere, even while traveling
  • Protect your data and online privacy
  • Avoid bandwidth throttling strategies by service providers
  • Reduce the chances of DDoS attacks and other cyberattacks
  • Access sensitive data safely on your company’s network 

The above benefits will surely enthuse you to subscribe to a VPN immediately! But before that, let’s take a brief look into the inner workings of a VPN.

How Does a VPN Work?

Simply put, a VPN uses a client-server model. First, you’ll download the VPN’s client. Then, connect to the VPN server using your login credentials. The VPN client sends these credentials to the VPN server, which, in turn, authenticates them. Next, the server creates an encrypted tunnel and sends all your data through it, so no one can access the contents. 

Essentially, the server encapsulates every data packet into a wrapper. Then, it encrypts the wrapper. Finally, it transmits the data packets and the wrapper to a destination VPN server. 

In turn, this destination VPN server decrypts the outer wrapper, masks your IP address and other traceable information, and forwards the data packets to the final web server. In this sense, your VPN server is an intermediary to encrypt your data and mask your identity before it reaches the final destination.

Now that you know how a VPN works, it’s important to remember that not all VPNs are the same. Let’s look at the different types of VPNs available next.

3 Different Types of VPNs

VPNs come in different flavors to suit varying needs. Broadly speaking, you have 3 types to consider. Let’s discuss each one further, starting with remote access VPNs.

1. Remote Access VPN

A remote access VPN service uses proprietary software to help employees connect to corporate networks safely. Generally, remote workers use this VPN to access data and information from their respective corporate networks.

2. Personal VPN

A personal VPN is the most commonly used VPN. You typically use this type of VPN to connect to the VPN service provider’s servers, not to your corporate network. In this sense, the sending and receiving servers belong to the service provider. The destination VPN server encrypts your data, hides your IP address, and forwards the data to the required web servers. 

3. Dedicated VPN

As the name suggests, a dedicated VPN service is ideal for large businesses. It helps connect their different sites and branches for secure data transmission. It’s used only by the business’s employees to send and receive data.

Now comes the big question. Which of the three VPNs should you get? In general, if you want to browse or access the internet anonymously, a personal VPN is the way to go. Organizations with a large remote workforce can opt for remote access VPNs. Finally, large companies that want to securely transmit data between their offices can choose a dedicated VPN.

You have many service providers to choose from in each of these types. Before we get into those providers, I’ll talk about the aspects you should consider before deciding.

What to Look for When Choosing a VPN

It’s important to highlight that you can choose from free VPNs and paid VPNs. In general, free VPN services have many restrictions compared to paid VPNs.

Here’s a table that provides a glimpse into the differences between a free and paid VPN service. Please note that these are mostly based on average results and don’t necessarily reflect on any particular service.

FeatureFree VPNPaid VPN
SpeedSlowerFaster
Download CapacityLowHigh
Number of ServersLimitedExtensive
Stable ConnectionInconsistentConsistent
Bandwidth LimitYesNo
The differences speak for themselves! Which one will you choose?

Due to the above reasons, I recommend paid VPN services.

That said, all paid VPN services are different in some way. So how can you decide? 

How to Choose a VPN Service

Consider the below factors before making a decision:

  • Speed: Look for speed, especially if you plan to use VPN services for online streaming, gaming, and downloads. You can also follow some troubleshooting tips for fixing slow VPNs if you encounter this problem.
  • Number of servers: Go for a VPN service with many servers because, generally speaking, more servers translate to higher speeds.
  • Data collection: Avoid VPNs that collect your data or maintain a log of your activities, as this is counter-intuitive to anonymity and privacy. 
  • Encryption: Look for VPN services that encrypt using AES-256 standards, as it’s almost impossible to crack.
  • Specific features: Opt for a VPN service suitable for your needs. For example, some VPN services don’t allow BitTorrent and other peer-sharing sites, so pick a VPN that offers what you want.

The above list is sure to give you an idea of how to go about shopping for a VPN provider. To reduce your efforts, I combed the internet to identify some top VPN service providers for you. 

Top 5 VPN Service Providers in 2022

With many VPN services available today, it’s not easy to pick the best one for your needs. Below are 5 choices that work well for most organizations, so read through them to decide the best fit for you. 

1. GFI KerioControl

Logo of KerioContro.
KerioControl is a comprehensive security software solution that includes a VPN!

GFI Kerio Control is a good choice for small and medium-sized businesses looking for an affordable VPN solution for their remote workforce. 

Features

  • Uses the IPSec protocol to encrypt data packets and send them securely over the network
  • Works well on desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and more
  • Is very easy to use and works well for users of all technical levels

Backed by the trust of GFI, KerioControl is a reliable service known for its high speed and performance. It’s a solid choice for anyone looking for a comprehensive and easy-to-use VPN solution.

2. NordVPN

Logo of NordVPN.
An online VPN service for speed and security.

NordVPN is another good choice to protect your data and online identity. With NordVPN, you can browse the internet without any restrictions. You can even pick the IP address of a specific country. Then, you can access any exclusive regional content, such as specific movies on Netflix, for instance.

Features

  • Is highly secure, so you can connect from any public Wi-Fi without worrying about anyone stealing your data
  • Has 5,600+ servers available across 60 countries
  • Has a strict no-logs policy

Overall, NordVPN is a popular choice for anyone looking to access geo-blocked content or browse anonymously. 

3. Fortinet VPN

A blue shield enclosing a lock.
Secure and anonymous VPN service.

Fortinet VPN provides a secure end-to-end connection between servers to safely transmit your confidential data across any network. 

Features

  • Uses IPSec and SSL technologies to protect your data from cyberattacks such as man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks
  • Streamlines access control and helps implement consistent security policies across your organization
  • Maintains high speed and reliable performance

Fortinet VPN, in all, uses advanced technologies to protect your data and privacy in the digital world. 

4. CyberGhost VPN

Logo of CyberGhost.
Become a digital ghost.

CyberGhost VPN protects your anonymity online while you browse, download, play, shop, torrent, bank, and more. 

Features

  • Has 7,800+ servers
  • Maintains a no-logs policy and strong AES encryption to ensure your safety and privacy
  • Helps you connect up to seven devices, including game consoles, smart TVs, laptops, and more with a single subscription

Overall, CyberGhost VPN is comprehensive and provides good value for your money.

5. ExpressVPN

Logo of ExpressVPN.
Get a high-speed, secure, and anonymous VPN Service.

ExpressVPN is a secure, high-speed VPN service with servers across 94 countries. It works well across all devices and protects your identity even when you connect through public networks. 

Features

  • Has strong data protection capabilities 
  • Ensures seamless connectivity, thanks to its servers across 94 countries
  • Implements next-generation technology for safe and reliable online activity

ExpressVPN is often used to access geo-blocked content due to its extensive presence across many countries. 

In short, the above-mentioned VPN services have all the features you need to safeguard your confidential data from snoopers and cybercriminals. Excellent speeds, reliable performance, helpful customer support, and a high reputation are other reasons to choose a service from the above list.

Before we end, let’s quickly recap.

Final Words

A VPN ensures privacy and safety when accessing the internet. It also helps you to securely send and receive sensitive data. VPNs encrypt your data, so no one can read it during transit. Additionally, VPNs mask your IP address to give you much-needed anonymity in today’s digital world. 

The growing popularity of VPNs has led to the emergence of many VPN services. This has made choosing an appropriate service difficult. To save you time and effort, I gave you a list of the top 5 VPN services that have all the features you need for a safe online experience. 

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

FAQ

Can I use a VPN on any device? 

Yes, you can use a VPN on any device. Most popular VPN services today have VPN clients that work on different operating systems and devices, so you can connect to VPN servers through these clients.

Do I need a different VPN service for different devices?

This depends on the VPN service provider. Some providers allow you to use the same VPN client across many devices. That said, multiple connections can lower VPN speeds. Also, make sure you check for compatibility with your preferred devices before signing up for a VPN service. As an aside, it’s also important to consider the compatibility of other solutions like SSO, EDR, and MDM when choosing a VPN.

Do I need a VPN at home?

Yes, I’d strongly recommend this. VPNs mask your IP address and protect your online identity. Also, you can securely connect to your office network at any time. You’ll get protection from some cyberattacks, like DDoS attacks, and online surveillance as well. 

Can a VPN protect me from all cyberattacks?

No, a VPN can’t protect you from all cyberattacks. You can get protection from DDoS and man-in-the-middle attacks, but not from malware, ransomware, phishing, or viruses. Read this guide on Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) to prevent other cyberattacks.

Is a VPN slower than directly accessing the internet?

Yes, a VPN will be slower than directly accessing the internet. The encryption process, routing of data packets through the VPN client, and the distance between your device and VPN servers will impact your internet speeds. 

Resources

TechGenix: Article on Business VPNs

Learn more about business VPNs in this guide.

TechGenix: Article on the Need for a VPN

Educate yourself on the need for a VPN.

TechGenix: Review on KerioControl with VPN

Read a review about GFI KerioControl with VPN.

TechGenix: Article on Double VPNs

Understand what double VPNs are and when you should use them.

TechGenix: Article on SSL VPNs

Find out all about SSL VPNs and how they can help your business.

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