Small businesses are the backbone of the free market economy. In the United States, SMEs make up a significant chunk of all employment activity and revenue generation. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2014 an estimated 5.83 million employer firms operated in the US. Companies with less than 500 employees make up 99.7% of all these businesses, while companies with less than 20 workers comprise 89.4% of these businesses. Similar trends can be extrapolated to present-day statistics.
Big companies tend to have significantly more capital available to protect their market position by way of economies of scale, budgets, and brand awareness. For a small company, it is especially important to maximize company resources since budgets are limited and one wrong move can derail SME operations. Nowadays, many small businesses have an online presence. This serves to expand a company’s sphere of influence and marketing reach, but it also presents security challenges. If a business is hacked, valuable data can be usurped for nefarious purposes. Customer and client data, login information, company details and other sensitive material can easily be breached if there are flaws in the security system.
Possible Data Breaches
- Small businesses operating from unsecured locations such as the local Starbucks, hotels, airports, and public libraries run the risk of being intercepted by hackers. Anywhere there is open Wi-Fi, security threats are present and this does not bode well for the successful running of your small business.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi hotspots may appear to be a value-added service provided by your business to your customers, but some people have the wherewithal to infect your system’s operations through unsecured Wi-Fi at your place of business.
- Small businesses that outsource employees around the world also run the risk of unsecured connections. If your project manager in India is communicating with the sales manager in the Philippines and reporting back to you in the United States with costs and client data, your entire operation could be jeopardized if any of these communications are intercepted.
How to Protect against These Online Security Threats?
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are online security systems that allow you to privately, securely, and anonymously conduct transactions on the Internet. A VPN reroutes your communications through an encrypted virtual tunnel via remote servers. Your IP address – your online fingerprint – is masked with a VPN. This ensures that nobody knows what sites you’re browsing or how you’re connected to the Internet. By simply connecting up to a VPN server (they are located all over the world), you are re-routing your Internet traffic and obfuscating any tracking of your online browsing activity. As a small business owner, a VPN is an invaluable resource. Your privacy, safety, and anonymity are sacrosanct.
If you’re communicating with any of your colleagues in the country, or beyond its borders, you can do so with confidence. You don’t need to worry about your communications or sensitive data being breached. There are plenty of instances of Internet fraud taking place on a daily basis. A VPN is your assurance that your connection is 100% secure. As such, small businesses cannot afford to be without this type of protection. For a nominal monthly fee, or once off payment, you can stay connected to the Internet and have encrypted traffic running 24/7. Today’s VPNs are easier to use than ever before. At the click of a button, you can redirect your Internet flow from New York to London, South Africa, Brazil, or anywhere else on the planet. The high-speed Internet connections and unlimited bandwidth provided by these services mean that you don’t have to sacrifice speed for anonymity and security.
Which VPN Service Should You Consider Using?
Many countries in the world today restrict their Internet traffic for a variety of reasons. This is especially true in China, North Korea, across the Middle East and other repressive-style regimes. A VPN can bypass all these restrictions by allowing you to remotely access the Internet as if you are somewhere else. You can connect to multiple networks through your business, access foreign markets that are otherwise blocked by your traffic, and even play at regulated gaming sites that restrict access to people from specific countries. Your choice of VPN provider depends on the services you are looking for.
Small businesses are encouraged to visit reputable VPN aggregator platforms to determine which ones are worthy of consideration. In-depth comparative analysis of VPN services is necessary to know whether they keep logs of your browsing data and share that information with the authorities, what pricing plans and business options they offer, how many systems you can hook up to the VPN software, and so forth. Once you have ascertained the merits of VPN services, you can confidently make your selection. It’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of VPN services since this can provide you with a secure network that you and your employees can use to communicate and transmit information with confidence.
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