About 25% of people worldwide now use a VPN. Most use VPNs to access entertainment content and browse anonymously. But a growing number of businesses have now begun adopting VPNs for security purposes. While there is some overlap between personal and business VPNs, they do have some significant differences.
The similarities and differences between these two types of VPNs are explained in this article. It will help you better understand how to get the most out of each of them.
Let’s dive right in.
What is a VPN?
As you may or may not know, VPN stands for a virtual private network. VPNs create a tunnel of encryption between your device and the websites you visit. It encrypts (thus, secures from any third party) all data that goes through that tunnel.
VPNs have massive security benefits; for example, they can prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. They are also excellent tools for privacy. That’s because they anonymize your IP address, ensuring that your browsing activity isn’t easily traceable back to you.
VPNs have many other benefits too. They’re useful for bypassing network restrictions and censorship. They also offer greater flexibility for streaming content, see more about how VPN lets you access geo-blocked content as if you were physically present there.
What’s a Business VPN?
Business VPNs likewise provide end-to-encryption. But they address business needs. With this type of protection, you can create a secure internet connection to online platforms, no matter where the employee is.
Remote access is one of the fundamental features of business VPNs. For example, many companies allow only employees to access certain online resources. It’s easy to enforce when all employees work in the same office and connect to the same network. But that’s not the case with remote workers or freelancers. VPNs make sure they can also access the online resources. They only need to connect to the corporate VPN. The goal is to protect data from hackers, governments, competitors, advertisers, and other threats.
With a business VPN, there’s also less focus on entertainment uses. It may not be able to stream Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or other platforms. Instead, it focuses on secure and efficient access for all connected employees.
How are Business and Personal VPNs Similar?
Both business and personal VPNs have the same principles. You can use them to enhance your digital security. Whether you decide a personal or commercial VPN is the right option for you, either will be a significant security upgrade.
Likewise, you can take advantage of the same core VPN features. For example, you can use either type of VPN to bypass government censorship and other restrictions. In the case of business VPNs, it can be essential for using various online tools. Imagine going to a conference in China and losing access to all Google products. VPN makes sure that doesn’t happen. At the same time, you can use the same tool to stream your favorite content from abroad with a personal VPN.
The Major Differences Between Business and Commercial VPNs
Nonetheless, there are still significant differences between the two. Here are some you need to be aware of:
1) Single vs. Multi-User
This is the most apparent difference. Personal VPNs are for one user (and up to 6 devices), while business VPNs cover the needs of many users and entire businesses.
With a business service, a company has one global account. All employees can download VPN, but they cannot control VPN settings much. Only after getting access, they can connect to the corporate network.
When it comes to personal VPNs, users have full control of their accounts and the servers they connect to. With business VPNs, there are account managers who have ultimate control of everything.
2) Account Management
On that note, account management is a massive feature of business VPNs. Account managers will add and remove users and devices as necessary. They can also change global settings and apply new ones to the VPN networks as they see fit.
This part usually falls on someone in the IT department. Though some platforms are easy to use and require little knowledge for account management. For example, NordVPN Teams has a straightforward dashboard. The account manager can see all employees and their connection/access status there: invited, pending, active, suspended, etc. It takes only a few clicks to grant and remove access or add a new employee.
3) Regular vs. Business Servers
Personal VPNs connect to servers available for all users of the service. There can be thousands of servers available all over the world. And they share these servers with other users as needed. Sometimes, some servers may have too many users connected, which can cause lag or other issues.
Business VPNs have private servers dedicated to their needs. So they also have better performances and high-quality connections.
4) Dedicated vs. Shared IP
Most websites and VPNs use shared IP addresses. It means many users browse with the same IP at the same time. It is okay for everyday internet use. But if there is some sort of problem like a user does something illegal, IP address risks getting blocked, locking you out of some platforms.
That’s why dedicated IP addresses are essential for businesses. Like servers, these are meant for the use of one company only.
5) Different Software
You see this everywhere. There are personal and professional versions of Windows, Office, and other tools. Private users all use the same software with the same installation procedure.
Businesses often have customized software designed for their particular needs and equipment. And it falls to your IT department to configure settings for your employees.
6) Individual vs. Corporate Privacy
Personal VPNs protect individuals. They ensure online activities stay hidden from third parties. These VPNs safeguard data and prevent snooping.
Business VPNs take this approach to the entire business and all employees. The firm is thus able to keep all their activities private while safeguarding its essential online assets. Some business VPNs do enable the monitoring of employees’ internet traffic. In some cases, it can be necessary to prevent fraud or secure business assets.
Personal VPNs require little upkeep. Usually, keeping up with software updates is enough. Business VPNs are more complicated and may need a custom solution to make sure everything is always running smoothly.
Finding the Right VPN Provider
Ultimately, everything comes down to the provider. Go with a reputable service such as NordVPN that not only uses the latest technology but also has excellent customer support.