The internet is an increasingly dangerous place to be. Cyberattacks and data breaches are constantly on the rise, with online crime damages predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by next year.
Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that they’re too small and insignificant for hackers to bother with.
This, unfortunately, cannot be farther from the truth. Realistically, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves, according to Accenture.
“Modern IT infrastructures are more complex and sophisticated than ever, and the amount of virtual ground that we’ve got to safeguard has also grown exponentially,” explains Jesse Rothstein, CTO of online security provider ExtraHop. “From mobile to desktop interactions, cybercriminals can launch thousands of digital attacks designed to compromise your operations at every turn, only one of which ever needs to connect to cause serious disruption.”
If that isn’t worrying enough, 60% of businesses that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months.
From these numbers, you can conclude that one of the biggest priorities for businesses big and small should be cybersecurity.
One of the best methods to fight this growing issue is investing in a quality VPN. This online tool has been widely used for years by the world’s biggest companies to access their corporate systems via the public internet securely.
VPNs for Small Businesses
While VPNs have been around for years and are used by multi-national corporations, they have recently become more accessible to small businesses and private users. They are commemorated for the following:
- The ability to encrypt your online connection and increase digital privacy.
- Spoofing your location to that of virtually any country in the world and in turn bypass regional blocks as well as censorship.
- Allow you access to websites or services that are otherwise unavailable in your location, such as TV platforms and streaming media.
Access Files Safely in Public
One of the things that countless small business owners do all the time is access the internet using public Wi-Fi connections to complete some work tasks. Often done on the run or while on a business trip, you could be accessing the internet from your hotel or a café without giving it a second thought.
Not many people know this, but from an IT security perspective, this type of move is a huge no-no – and in fact, it can be quite dangerous. A quick Google search will show you that even a seven-year-old can hack into a public network in less than 11 minutes.
Hackers are also quite adept at setting up fake hotspots and just waiting for you to fall into their trap. Should you do so, and in turn, enter any sensitive information like your username and password, you will be looking at a likely data breach.
Enter your trusty VPN. When you connect to a VPN service, you’re actually encrypting your online data and sending it through to another server on the other side of the world. Sure, the risk of cybercriminals is still very real, but at best, they will only be able to see encrypted, meaningless code that would take a couple of lifetimes to crack.
The Affordability Factor
2020 hasn’t been the easiest year, especially for businesses. Understandably, there likely isn’t a huge budget that you can allocate to a whole IT security team.
Another highlight of this useful online tool is the fact that it is exceptionally affordable. You can expect to pay around $50 – $100 per month, with some premium VPNs offering plans of under $2 a month if you sign up for a multi-year plan.
The good news is that most of these high-quality VPNs will allow you multiple simultaneous connections with just one subscription. This means if there are five people working for you, you will all be able to secure your online connections and keep company data secure.
For those that are not working from home, you can install your VPN of choice to your router and ensure that all individuals in that office have access to a safe digital connection.
With the widespread panic and insecurity that came with the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020, many people were also thrown into the deep end, having to work from home.
Cybercriminals, fully aware that this means that remote workers do not have access to IT security as they would in their normal working environments, took full advantage of this, which is why cyberattacks have increased exponentially this year.
Small business owners are the target of around half of all cyberattacks, and without the backup of IT experts, the threat is bigger than ever.
Investing in an affordable security solution such as a VPN is one of the best steps you can take to ensure the success of your small but growing business for years to come.