The pandemic has caused companies to close left and right, across a variety of sectors. Those that switched to remote working were met with new challenges, one of them being the heightened risk of cyberattacks. In response, people have been turning to the best VPNs for small businesses to mitigate the issue.
Before we get to our small business VPN choices, here’s a more in-depth look at why your company might need one. You can skip ahead to our recommendations by clicking on the links below.
- Why Small Businesses Need a VPN
- Best VPNs for Small Businesses – Ranked
- Best VPNs for Small Businesses – The Bottom Line
Why Small Businesses Need a VPN
Online security and privacy are the key qualities of a consumer VPN, but let’s see how one can benefit your business.
1. Secure Remote Work and File-sharing
You think only major enterprises have to deal with hackers? Guess again. Small companies have the most to suffer from poor security, with nearly half of all cyberattacks being aimed at them and costs of $200,000 on average. Unfortunately, only a fraction of those businesses actually has proper defenses in place. Make sure yours doesn’t end up a number in some yearly cyberattack reports.
VPNs encrypt your network data (distort it, basically) and make it unreadable to outsiders – whether it’s hackers, ISPs, or three-letter government agencies. Let your employees enjoy safe remote access to company files, directly from home.
Check out our guide on how to access your work computer from home for more details.
2. First-rate User Experience
If you didn’t know, VPNs could be used to change your IP address and make it seem like you’re connecting from a different country. As such, VPNs can also be useful for website and web application testing purposes.
After all, if your business is trying to reach an international audience, it’s important to see how your pages are rendered in different geographic locations.
3. Get Past Geo-Blocks
As a side benefit, masking your IP lets you see previously inaccessible content from other regions. For example, if you try to access certain US news websites from the EU, you’ll only be met with a generic apology thanks to GDPR.
No matter what content you want to unblock, all you have to do is switch to the country of choice from your provider’s VPN client, and you’re all set.
Best VPNs for Small Businesses – Ranked
Let’s preface this by saying that not all of our VPN picks are necessarily geared towards businesses. However, they are all perfectly capable of providing top-notch security for small teams.
Perimeter81 is a specifically business-oriented VPN, which is easy to see from the extra features you wouldn’t get with a consumer VPN. For example, it allows for network segmentation to safeguard crucial data from any breaches.
You can also manage your whole team from a relatively easy-to-use dashboard, whether it’s to:
- Invite new members, set up new roles, and review employee activity
- Create custom VPN networks (such as site to site networks to connect two different office locations)
- Enable extra security features, two-factor authentication, and more
Perimeter81 is easy to operate, even if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy. And, as with any company that caters to businesses, Perimeter81 will be more than happy to help you get things up and running.
The number of worldwide public servers is a bit low (at least when compared to the competition) – with over 700 servers located in 36 countries. At least they cover most major locations.
Furthermore, you have the option of creating an unlimited number of virtual private servers (VPS) for your specific needs. Do note that these VPS instances won’t benefit from the same performance as a dedicated physical server. Either way, the speeds are nothing to scoff at – Perimeter81 consistently tops the lists of best VPNs for small businesses for a good reason.
Already among the top consumer VPNs, NordVPN has expanded into the SMB market after they realized that as many as 15,000 of their clients were in need of a business VPN experience.
NordVPN Teams come packaged with the same top-notch quality you’d expect from the provider. At the same time, it offers a centralized control panel to manage your team and activities, much like Perimeter81.
On the downside, you need to be on the Advanced plan for “priority” 24/7 support and more advanced management features in the control panel, such as:
- Creating custom gateways
- Assigning dedicated servers (Note: dedicated servers with fixed IPs are an extra $40 per month)
- Customizing access permissions for individual users
In comparison, the Basic plan web console is a bit barebones, acting only as a user grouping and account management interface – letting you reset passwords, suspend or delete users entirely.
Where NordVPN Teams has the advantage over Perimeter81 is in the server category – with over 1,100 servers in 33 countries. Of course, this is only a fraction of what they offer in their consumer VPN option. Since it’s still a relatively new service, we’re sure they will expand in the near future.
They might not have a business-specific plan, but a single ExpressVPN subscription can be used on up to five devices simultaneously. This makes it ideal for smaller teams or equipping all your employees’ devices with strong VPN encryption as they work remotely.
You’ll find that their app works across many platforms – from Linux to non-standard ones for most VPNs, such as Chromebook, Kindle Fire, Nook, and more. No complicated setups are required, either.
On top of that, the individual plans let you access over 3,000 fast servers in 94 countries. That is considerably better coverage than what you’d get with a dedicated business VPN.
Not being able to manage your teams may be a deterrent for some, but the multitude of features in the VPN client more than makes up for the lack of a control panel.
Read our full ExpressVPN review, where we answer any questions you might have had about the industry titan:
- Step-by-step guides and configuration how-to’s for the best experience
- Security + speed test results and more
One of the more affordable options on our list, with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee if you commit to a longer subscription (six months and above).
Their affordability doesn’t mean they lack in other departments. CyberGhost VPN has a whopping 6,300 servers in 90+ countries and some of the fastest speeds out there.
Security-wise, CyberGhost has all the features you would expect from a quality provider:
- A no-logging policy, meaning they never store any online activity logs while using the VPN
- OpenVPN 256-bit AES encryption, the strongest commercially available – even used by the NSA to protect “top secret”-level information
- A VPN kill switch to prevent any data leaks in case of network instability or other unforeseen connectivity problems
Check out our in-depth CyberGhost review for any other details you might be interested in.
Whereas other VPNs limit the number of devices on a single subscription, Surfshark pride themselves with their “one subscription, unlimited connections” policy. A major money-saver for smaller teams who are just getting started. Can’t afford a separate yearly subscription for every team member? Try them out.
They’re not too shabby on the server coverage, either. With over 1,700 servers in 63 countries, you won’t find it difficult to get a great connection going.
An interesting security feature is their CleanWeb add-on that blocks ads and prevents devices from accessing known malware and phishing domains. Considering that the number of phishing websites has increased by over 350% since the start of the pandemic, we believe it is a useful addition.
As always, you can read our full review for in-depth coverage on their policies, performance, and more.
Another VPN that is geared towards teams, offering a way to add and remove users from a single account, is Encrypt.me. Moreover, its client lets you enable content filtering – whether it’s to remove distractions like social media or block advertisements and malware sites.
For the tech-savvy, Encrypt.me allows you to essentially roll your own VPN through the use of private endpoints. You get a dedicated IP and cloud VPN server with no traffic logging, which is excellent if you work with particularly sensitive data.
One downside of the service is that it only has 79 server locations (as of the 15th of July, 2020). Many of them are located in the US and Europe, with not much coverage elsewhere in the world.
We also don’t see the benefit of getting a team (or family) subscription, seeing as you can connect unlimited devices with a single account. Are you part of a smaller team and don’t care about user management or individual accounts? Then you’re probably better off sharing a single pair of credentials with your co-workers.
Best VPNs for Small Businesses – The Bottom Line
Perimeter81 is the clear winner here, albeit the lower number of servers puts it at a slight disadvantage to NordVPN Teams. Despite coming in at a close second, the latter still has some catching up to do in the management dashboard and features department.
ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Surfshark are all amazing consumer VPNs that can be used by individual team members, depending on their security needs. If you need better server coverage than what the first two can offer, they’re perfectly viable business use options.
While having the weakest offer among our choices, Encrypt.me still provides a decent option for small US and European businesses. The fact that you can use an unlimited number of devices on a single account is definitely to its advantage.
These are the best VPNs for small businesses – which one you pick depends entirely on your company’s needs.
Looking for a VPN that you can use when you get off work? Check out our list of the best VPNs in 2020 for two extra options we haven’t mentioned here.