What do you need for secure business communications?

29 May 2018

Having the right security measures in place is a must for anyone running a business

A common misconception among small business owners is that their companies are not interesting or big enough to be targeted by cybercriminals. However, an increasing number of hacking attempts on small businesses prove they are wrong - all companies are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

In fact, smaller businesses are at even greater risk, because they often lack basic security knowledge and do not have proper security measures, such as antivirus, firewall or a VPN, in place.

So if your company doesn’t pay enough attention to cybersecurity, it’s about time to make some changes, as losing confidential details about your business or exposing your customers information may have dire consequences.

Scenarios Where Your Business Data Is At Highest Risk of Being Compromised

  1. Using public Wi-Fi networks: Public Wi-Fi these days is almost everywhere, so you can easily check your email or organize a conference call simply on the go. This is especially convenient when you are on a business trip or prefer working remotely from a local coffee shop. However, it’s important to know, that open Wi-Fi networks are often poorly secured, so by using them you put your business data at risk of being exposed.
  2. Hiring remote staff: Having employees in different parts of the world is not only convenient but also extremely risky. Sending confidential information over the Internet without any protection is the fastest way to becoming a victim of a cyber-attack or a data breach.
  3. Providing a free Wi-Fi hotspot: If you have a Wi-Fi hotspot available for your guests or customers, it should be as well properly secured. If a hacker manages to intercept your Wi-Fi network, they can easily spy on your customers or lure them into phishing sites to steal sensitive information.

By far, a VPN service is the most reliable solution in all of these situations. It secures your connection with strong encryption, so you can safely connect to open public networks, send sensitive information, as well as provide reliable Wi-Fi to your customers.

Let’s Dig Deeper: What Is a VPN and What Does It Do?

If you are not familiar with the definition, VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” - the technology that helps its users to stay private and safe while browsing the Internet. It does so by sending your Internet traffic through a remote VPN server, this way masking your actual IP address and encrypting your connection.

Due to this setup, no one - not even advertisers, government agencies, hackers, or your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can possibly see who you are or what you do on the Internet.

Although this may sound like rocket science, it’s nothing like it. Most of the VPNs are extremely easy to set up and use. For example, if you have an installed app on your computer or a smartphone, all you have to do is open the app and tap or click on the preferred server location. The special algorithm will connect you to the closest and the least crowded server available at the moment.

This will immediately change your IP address with the IP of that particular server making it look like you are browsing from the country where the server is located, which can be thousands of kilometers away from your office.

 That’s why a number of servers and countries is one of the most important features to look for when choosing a VPN service. Full-featured and trusted VPN providers offer hundreds of VPN servers in dozens of worldwide locations, giving their users more freedom to choose, as well as providing them with better connectivity and speeds.

No logs policy is crucial if you care about your business confidentiality. If your VPN provider doesn’t have a clear no-logs policy in place, better do your research and choose another one you can trust. Only VPNs that don’t collect any of their users’ data can guarantee you actual online privacy. For example, NordVPN won’t be able to provide any details about you, because it doesn’t have them.

How Can a VPN Help Your Business?

Despite the fact, that around half of attacks target small companies, there are still too many people out there who believe that VPNs and similar security tools are only for large corporations, or individuals who have something to hide. On the contrary - a reliable VPN is a must for any business, no matter what size.

By sending your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, a VPN makes it safe to send sensitive business information over the Internet. Therefore, with a VPN protection, you can securely access your business accounts, execute financial transactions, and share confidential data with your staff or partners even on unprotected public Wi-Fi networks.

Since a VPN hides your actual IP address, the service comes especially handy when you are traveling to foreign countries. A VPN helps you bypass censorship to access the usual online content and services, no matter where in the world you are. Additionally, with a VPN you can avoid being throttled or tracked by your ISP.

Good VPNs have lots of server locations all over the world, making it easier for you to establish a secure connection from anywhere you are. Besides, when subscribing to a VPN service, it is important to make sure that it:

  • Keeps no logs of your activities.
  • Uses strong encryption protocols.
  • Doesn’t limit users’ bandwidth.
  • Has apps that are easy-to-use.
  • Allows connecting multiple devices to one account.
  • Has professional customer support.
  • Offers extra security tools, such as DNS leak protection, Kill Switch or Double VPN.

In addition to VPN protection, it’s also very important to remain vigilant and follow the basic online safety precautions. Be extra careful when opening emails from unknown senders and never download attachments if you are not sure what’s inside them. Needless to say, you should create strong passwords for your accounts, use 2FA (two-factor authentication) whenever possible, and never share your login information with anyone, especially over the Internet.

Please note: This article was written by an external author. Any opinions or advice shared by the author are their own and not indicative of any official advice or opinions of Thomson Local or its employees.

Tagged with:

  • Business Security
  • Cyber Security
  • Hackers
  • Internet
  • Security
Author -
Cyber Security Expert

Harold is a cyber security consultant and a freelance blogger. He's currently working on a cyber security campaign to raise awareness around the threats that businesses can face online.

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