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  • It is common to think that, due to their size, some companies go unnoticed in the eyes of cybercriminals, but this is a mistake.

    SMBs can be seen by hackers as “a fruit at your fingertips” due to the low level of protection. Therefore, SMBs require a level of protection as effective as that of a large company.

    In this chaotic environment, VPN solutions gain prominence due to the low cost of their implementation added to the current market needs. In this post, we will see what a VPN is, why should SMBs use a VPN, and the best VPN solutions for SMBs.

    What is a VPN?

    The concept of a VPN ( Virtual Private Network) is to create a secure virtual tunnel that allows communication between two distant points, using public and unreliable network infrastructure.

    The security in the communication of data that travels through this tunnel is carried out through encryption between the origin and the destination, thus eliminating the risks of an eventual interception of information during its transmission.

    A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection on a less secure network, such as the public internet. A VPN connection works using shared public infrastructure while maintaining privacy through security procedures and tunneling protocols.

    Why should SMBs use VPN?

    First, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not the company’s size that determines whether or not it needs a VPN connection. This depends on where your data is located, your company’s physical structure, and your work processes. Any business can fit this profile.

    To make it easier, let’s highlight a few items that may indicate the need for a VPN connection at your company. Follow:

    • Systems and sensitive data that are hosted externally;
    • If a company has a SaaS application deployed on a cloud computing platform like AWS;
    • Employees who travel frequently and need remote access to the organization’s data/systems;
    • Sensitive information that needs to be exchanged with customers, business partners, and suppliers;
    • Existence of two or more branches, in addition to the company’s headquarters, which need to exchange data constantly;
    • Need for monitoring access to data and systems.

    Even so, the use of the solution can be expanded to encompass the exchange of information via e-mails and corporate instant messaging tools, backup units, sensitive equipment (robots, for example), among others. In short, it doesn’t matter if you are an SMB or a large business. If the company requires a high level of data exchange outside the four walls of the office, it should rely on a VPN connection.

    Benefits of VPN for SMBs

    The connections made through the VPN allow the deployment configurations to be performed simply, using step-by-step installation wizards. The accesses performed by users are made as simple as possible by providing the username and password in the browser.

    They also allow for simple management and monitoring by the solution’s administrators, even without advanced knowledge of networks. Finally, they allow for cost reduction with simplified licensing and support plans to meet the requirements of SMBs. VPN connections have certain technical characteristics that benefit SMB. Among the most relevant are:

    • Protection against remote access hacking to data, systems, and websites, which also have the solution at the other end;
    • The traffic of confidential information over the internet without the risk of espionage or data theft;
    • Identification of people who access the systems and information;
    • Centralized management of access rights to information and systems (with the appropriate VPN key management platform);
    • Protecting the most sensitive servers/computers on your internal network from malicious employee/third party attacks (by adopting an encryption solution);
    • Protection of production cycles of automated machines and sensors in an industrial environment (also with the adoption of an encryption solution).

    In a market where innovation is a value for brands, high levels of connectivity and mobility combined with data security strategies guarantee competitiveness. Threats to information security also need to be mitigated, which a VPN connection is quite successful at providing.

    What are the risks when adopting a VPN connection for SMB?

    In today’s world, one must be wary of any solution that claims to be perfect in terms of data security. No digital system is 100% free from cyberattacks. The risks are few and, in general, caused by mistakes made by the users and not by the tool itself. Still, the VPN connection offers a highly satisfying level of protection.

    We can highlight the possibility of an invasion if the hacker manages to access one of the equipment at the ends of the connection (source or destination). Another form of risk would be the possible existence of a security breach in the encryption protocol, which is quite rare to happen.

    To avoid these scenarios, the process of distributing and managing encryption keys must be very secure, and Zero Trust Security exactly does that.

    Zero Trust Application Access employs multiple layers of device and user trust policy validation to authorize employees before granting them quick access to applications in a fully audited session and can be logged and monitored. The solution protects the network, employees, and applications using Zero Trust guidelines and isolates applications from the network at all times.

    Following are the best VPN solutions to secure an AWS network:

    Amazon AWS VPN

    AWS VPN is a cloud VPN solution that comes with the AWS – Amazon cloud computing platform. It offers a cloud VPN client for remote users to access resources on AWS, which means you don’t have to install it manually. It helps build a secure connection between AWS and your office through its site-to-site VPN. Amazon VPN offers a free tier and on-demand pricing after that.

    Perimeter 81

    Perimeter 81 is a leading business VPN that makes migration to AWS easy. It creates secure connections through a Site-to-Site IPSec connection and provides 24/7 real-time security monitoring and logs reporting service.

    Perimeter 81 also offers Zero Trust Secure Networks, making it a market leader in providing VPN services to SMBs. Perimeter 81 provides an on-demand demo, and their premium plan costs $12/user.

    OpenVPN Cloud

    OpenVPN Cloud provides dedicated services through quick full-mesh connectivity for cloud computing platforms like AWS and Azure.

    It provides traffic encryption and various regional connections through its multi-tenant cloud service. It gives 3 free connections and on-demand pricing thereafter.

    Final Words

    How a company’s technological resources are applied directly impacts the business value. Ensuring the security of SMBs in the digital environment has become essential to keep financial health at its best. That’s why it is important to use VPN for SMBs, which can bring countless benefits at a minimal cost.

    You may also be interested in VPN Alternatives for Small and Medium Businesses.