Enterprise virtual private network (VPN) services create a secure connection between computers, or between computer networks, that spans already-existing internet infrastructure. In effect, an enterprise VPN service, such as Hotspot Elite, ExpressVPN or IPVanish, creates its own internet, which is accessible only by authorized users.
Many businesses set up an internet VPN to manage the flow of information between employees, remote offices and members of the public who visit the company's website. By setting up a private network, it's possible to link offices together on a shared network. You can then provide secure access to that network for employees working from remote locations and permit external users to interact with the company website – by placing online orders, for example, or updating contact information – without giving away unrestricted access to the company database.
VPNs enhance the security of online interactions. Logging into a sensitive network from a public Wi-Fi, such as at a coffee shop, creates a weak spot that can be attacked by outside parties. Logging into a secure enterprise VPN service before accessing the private network ensures that eavesdroppers get nothing but encrypted data, regardless of the public Wi-Fi's security shortcomings.
Enterprise VPN Service: What to Look For
Enterprise VPN services are enormously flexible. Some VPNs are designed to link a handful of users to a shared network while others are optimized for connecting multiple networks across the globe. No single configuration is suitable for every VPN, which is why each one must be evaluated in relation to the intended use of the network. In general, enterprise VPN services are judged by three criteria: who will be connected, how they will connect and the level of intervention required to manage their connection.
Remote Access vs. Site-to-Site
The most basic distinction among VPNs lies in the level at which users are connected. Remote access VPNs connect users to the shared network, which effectively extends the office wide area network (WAN) across the entire internet and allows authenticated users to interact with the private network as if they were physically present in the office. Site-to-site connections use many of the same protocols to connect one network to another. The most common application for site-to-site networking is linking field offices together in a single integrated web.
The protocols a VPN uses determine the network's security level and ease of use. Remote access VPNs usually authenticate users through usernames and passwords, which makes it simple for anyone with login information to access the network from any location, while site-to-site VPNs use certificates and pass phrases that have been preloaded onto the hardware.
Another factor to consider is the level of control an internet VPN offers administrators. Access levels on small networks are often configured for each person, though this becomes unwieldy as the network grows. Large networks use global management, by which a single administrator assigns permission levels to groups of people without having to separately reconfigure each machine.
VPNs combine the benefits of a private network with the ease of using the public internet. They provide secure connections between networks, and they allow remote access by authorized users. Enterprise VPN services can be configured many different ways, and determining which one is right for you depends on how your business will be using the system.
CyberGhost maintains over 500 servers and provides an enterprise VPN service as well as an anonymous downloadable browser for millions of customers in 29 countries. The company offers a free version of its service, which is compatible with some standard operating systems, with certain limitations imposed. Paid versions of the software offer more features and greater flexibility in your choice of platforms.
Getting started with CyberGhost requires that you sign up on the company's website and download the company's proprietary browser software. CyberGhost's setup automatically converts your IP address to an anonymous user, so once you've signed up for this service, there's not need to re-enter your username and password. The free version of this download works with the latest versions of Windows, Mac and Android systems, though not with custom platforms or most mobile devices. The free version also imposes advertisements during your browsing session. The two-tier paid version of the enterprise VPN service doesn't have advertisements and comes with apps for your smartphone and tablet, though using the service on more than one device is a premium feature that is only available with the highest subscription level.
Information sent over CyberGhost's enterprise VPN is protected with a 256-bit AES encryption protocol. Browsing is mostly anonymous, as the VPN masks your IP and no logs are kept of the sites you visit during your browsing sessions. CyberGhost is also able to assign you a proxy server to mask your location and get around regional restrictions on delivered content. The company also offers anonymous, offline payment options, including bitcoin, which lets you pay through authorized retailers, rather than using potentially traceable online transfers.
By letting you choose which server you connect to, CyberGhost gives you some control over your connection speed and wait times. The server list updates in real time with information about each location's current load and available connection speed, which lets you switch from a lagging server to one with less wait time; however, the company only guarantees no wait time for its enterprise VPN service premium customers.
CyberGhost is simple to set up and log into, but the free version's lack of support for mobile platforms and streaming advertisements limit the service's utility. Strong encryption, a single login, and anonymous internet access are among CyberGhost's strengths, though the security of an AES encryption system largely depends on the details of the enterprise VPN service's specific coding. Multiple internet VPN servers, located in several countries around the world, help to protect your privacy and have the additional benefit of giving you a range of connection options to choose from to ensure the fastest available connection speed.
ExpressVPN maintains multiple servers in dozens of countries to guarantee nearly universal enterprise VPN service uptime and minimal lag. Switching is fast and secure, with no traceable logs kept of browsing sessions. The service comes with unlimited customer support, and multiple devices may be connected through the data channel at once.
Connecting to an enterprise VPN service through ExpressVPN is quite simple. The service is available as a downloadable app that runs on Windows, Mac iOS and Android systems. Once downloaded to your drive, the program automatically installs and appears as an icon on your desktop. Using the service only requires activating the app and then browsing normally. If any problems develop, the company offers 24/7 customer help via email or online chat through the company's website.
ExpressVPN uses strong encryption and multiple protocols to ensure the security of its enterprise VPN service. In addition to the proprietary encryption system, the network runs an industry-standard IPsec protocol as well as SSTP and PPTP client hosting. The system works to fully anonymize users, and no logs are retained of browsing sessions that can be connected to you and other users. In this way, the service ExpressVPN offers can be used as a proxy server to mask your IPs and circumvent externally imposed restrictions on internet access.
With servers in 78 countries, ExpressVPN is able to offer enterprise VPN service with no speed limit, no data cap and a promise of 99.9 percent uptime. A standard service plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and fast, unrestricted switching. You can connect through one desktop device and one mobile gadget simultaneously, which effectively doubles the bandwidth available to customers. The company offers a discount for referrals, and customers are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee on their plans.
By building up a sizable network of interconnected servers, ExpressVPN has established a fast, reasonably flexible enterprise VPN service that works from almost anywhere in the world. The lack of geographic restrictions is a plus, as some countries impose blocks on service, which ExpressVPN customers can usually get around. Unlimited bandwidth, download speed and data volume are likewise beneficial to enterprise customers. Quick turnaround on emailed requests for help are a positive feature, but the lack of phone support can be taken as a negative for some customers, especially those who need real-time assistance, but who aren't able to use the online chat for one reason or another.
Hide My Ass Review
With a large network of VPN servers and a set of secure switching protocols, Hide My Ass offers high speeds and uninterrupted connections to browsers in almost every country. The company's enterprise VPN service is simple to log into, though it leans toward manual, rather than automatic, login procedures and requires you to choose servers from a list when starting a session. The company offers secure encryption for all traffic and various additional anonymizing tools for masking the source of links you post to third-party sites.
Hide My Ass is a user-authenticated enterprise VPN network that lets you connect from almost anywhere in the world with a simple username and password. On logging in, you are offered a choice of local servers for routing traffic, along with a legend indicating the current traffic load on each server. Though the sign-in process introduces an extra step, this feature lets you manually select the least loaded server for a faster connection and as little noticeable lag as possible.
All information sent over the Hide My Ass enterprise VPN solution is encrypted as a matter of course. In addition to standard encryption, the service offers several anonymizing tools, such as the IP anonymizer, which permits the untraceable posting of links to internet forums and message boards. This aspect of the service is oriented mainly toward private browsers, as opposed to corporate clients who are likely to maintain their own online message boards.
This VPN solution has built a huge global network of over 800 servers in 182 countries. Along with the company's nearly 114,000 unique IP addresses, this hardware network permits it to overcome many of the physical limitations of an enterprise VPN service and offer unusually fast connection speeds. Instead of imposing a slight lag in downloads and streaming content, the large selection of servers ensures a reasonably fast connection from virtually anywhere.
If your chief considerations in an enterprise VPN service are security, speed and access, Hide My Ass comes close to satisfying all three criteria. While the service can be somewhat cumbersome to log into, the large selection of servers helps balance load traffic across the network and ensure your connections are fast enough to stream live video content. The huge inventory of IP addresses effectively masks your locations and protects the privacy of online comments and transactions from marketing applications and phishing attacks.
Hotspot Shield Elite offers enterprise VPN services for those who need a secure connection to guard personal data on the internet. This service provides virus protection, firewall services and anonymous browsing and is the paid version of the advertisement-supported free version of Hotspot's popular Shield program.
This internet VPN, offered by AnchorFree, uses the infrastructure and authentication protocols from business-oriented site-to-site VPNs to provide a similar level of safety and confidentiality for non-professional web browsing. You can activate the software, log into any internet gateway and browse as you normally would. The software creates a tunnel for browsing that protects private data and may speed up downloads, depending on the strength of the underlying connection.
Hotspot Shield Elite encrypts all traffic with a proprietary encryption algorithm that converts normal HTTP interactions online into secure HTTPS traffic. The paid service also blocks pop-ups and warns you when a requested site matches one of the 3.5 million malicious sites listed on the company's in-house registry. Another benefit of using AnchorFree's servers to browse the web is that they circumvent the filters used for internet censorship, making this service popular for users living in or doing business with countries where such restrictions exist.
Since this enterprise VPN service comes packaged as a downloadable app, it works independently and is likely to be compatible with your browser. It can be switched on or off from an icon in the toolbar, letting users switch from an unsecured home connection to a public Wi-Fi and then to the secure office network without extra steps. The Hotspot Shield icon appears in the browser window when the program is running. This icon turns red when the enterprise VPN service is switched off.
AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield Elite enterprise VPN service is not without its drawbacks. While the service may speed up some connections, especially over slow networks, if you're accustomed to fast connections, you may notice a lag when loading pages or streaming video. The program's free version feeds advertisements to your browser, though only when the VPN is active, and the program shows a disturbing tendency to reorganize browsers it works with by inserting itself as a toolbar icon. Hotspot Shield reverts browsers to their default settings when it is uninstalled.
The enterprise VPN service offered through Hotspot Shield is safe, secure and reasonably fast, though some lag may be noticeable. The program takes some untoward liberties with adjusting your browser's settings and bombarding you with advertisements, but these annoyances are balanced by the program's overall ease of use.
IPVanish is a secure anonymizer that masks your IP address and physical location by routing traffic through any of its 165 dedicated servers in various locations around the world. The company's enterprise VPN service prevents deep-packet inspections of your data, adware analysis of your browsing habits and speed or data caps imposed by internet service providers. Security is further enhanced through the use of extensive encryption and switching protocols that are intended to frustrate both hackers and online marketers.
Various versions of IPVanish are available with Windows, Mac iOS, Android, and even custom operating systems that run on in-house data networks. This enterprise VPN solution doesn't require significant adjustment of your current operating environment, and the software seamlessly integrates with virtually all of the most commonly used systems. Setup is not completely automatic, which is why IPVanish offers step-by-step installation tutorials on its website.
All information and data sent through the IPVanish enterprise VPN is protected through multiple levels of security. By masking your geographic location and IP address, the service prevents online marketers from targeting advertisements toward its customers. By encrypting all of the data sent on the network, IPVanish ensures hackers cannot get more than an unintelligible stream of data from harvesting traffic, and by routing traffic through multiple switches and cutouts, the company successfully renders you all but anonymous during browsing sessions.
IPVanish offers customers access to its enterprise VPN service through a tier 1 network, which is unique among VPN providers. A tier 1 network peers with, potentially, all of the other networks on the internet, eliminating much of the cost associated with moving data traffic from one network to the next. This allows IPVanish to offer essentially unlimited bandwidth and traffic speeds, without the additional costs usually associated with premium service. This extensive network also prevents providers' efforts to impose data caps or throttle your service.
Multiple servers and a strict encryption protocol ensure that IPVanish's clients are well protected during online sessions. Installation of the service software is more hands-on than what most consumers may be comfortable with, but helpful tutorials are available to work through any difficulty getting started. Manual installation is inconvenient, but perhaps unavoidable, since the software is designed to work with such a wide variety of operating systems.
OverPlay VPN combines a randomizing smart DNS tool with 256-bit encryption across its enterprise VPN service. This combination gives you potent tools for getting around geographic restrictions and institutional barriers to unrestricted internet browsing. The robust security protocols also shield you from intrusive inspections and data mining efforts by internet marketers and unauthorized third parties. By hopping across multiple servers, located in several countries across six continents, OverPlay VPN manages to combine high speed and stringent privacy standards to protect browsers in regions where certain content is restricted or blocked outright.
In setting up OverPlay VPN, you have a choice between a simple, intuitive smart DNS tool and smart DNS combined with a secure internet VPN. The company's smart DNS tool lets you circumvent geographic restrictions and access location-specific content. Since this service has no intrinsic security features, OverPlay VPN offers virtual tunneling with encryption. Both services run through a single app, which makes installation and setup simple and quick.
OverPlay VPN renders browsing sessions secure and anonymous by routing connections through a remote proxy server to mask your IP subnet and identifying variables, such as location. The enterprise VPN uses industry-standard IPsec encoding to establish network connections and hops between the company's 48 servers as needed to circumvent firewalls and frustrate deep-packet inspections.
The enterprise VPN service OverPlay VPN is optimized to run on desktop computers, mobile gadgets and even console devices. Once service is established, authentication entails a simple login sequence, after which a secure connection is established through a remote DNS. Even with consistent data encryption for all transmitted data, lag is kept to a minimum by selecting between servers with open capacity. Since the OverPlay VPN network is oriented toward private browsers seeking to access video and other streaming media, the system generates little noticeable lag and few service interruptions.
Running an enterprise VPN service through dozens of servers worldwide, OverPlay VPN offers a wide-open browsing experience through its optional smart DNS tool, which is integrated with a secure VPN for total protection of your information and browsing history. The software works across multiple platforms, which makes it suitable for working overseas and while traveling.
Connecting to an enterprise VPN through proXPN is simple and fast, with two service levels to choose from. The service offers extensive security, including an all-but-unbreakable open encryption system for protecting data that may fall into the wrong hands. Speed is limited with the free-service level, as are server options, but all caps are lifted with a premium membership.
proXPN offers new customers a two-tiered service plan: one of them is paid; the other free, each with a full suite of features. The free service is multi-platform compatible, and it offers all of the operational features of the paid plan. Where the two differ is in secondary features, such as unlimited connection speeds and access to customer support. The free version of proXPN's enterprise VPN service comes free of service commitments while the paid version offers new sign ups a seven-day free trial.
The security proXPN options are far beyond industry standards. In addition to the security of switching servers and masking your IP address, as well as the use of server-side firewalls and program filtering, the company's enterprise VPN service protects your sent data with a 2048-bit encryption key, which would require billions of attempts to crack by force. In the event your connection is interrupted, either by server disconnection or by a fault on the public network you're using, proXPN's kill switch feature disconnects you from the internet to prevent any sensitive data being sent over an unencrypted network.
The free version of proXPN's internet VPN is not especially fast, only 300 kbps, and it may be too slow to effectively stream high-bandwidth content such as embedded video. Premium accounts, however, have no speed cap and may access the internet through any server on the network, rather than the single U.S.-based server proXPN's free customers use.
proXPN offers extremely tight security for any information you want to protect with an encryption algorithm that is essentially immune to current cracking methods. Even this encrypted data is unlikely to fall into the wrong hands as the system's kill switch automatically shuts down your connection in the event of a secure connection loss. Bandwidth and connection speed are capped for free customers, but a paid subscription to proXPN's enterprise VPN service lifts these blocks and gives you access to several other features such as 24-7 customer support and access to the company's global server network.
PureVPN provides anonymous browsing through 450 servers in over 100 countries to offer you smart DNS, secure data encryption and high-speed enterprise VPN service. The service uses 256-bit encryption to protect all of the data carried on its servers, and your traffic is routed anonymously through a manually selected network immune to geographic and firewall restrictions. An optional add-on allows streaming media to load and play at up to 20 Mbps without buffering.
Getting started with PureVPN requires choosing a service pack and payment plan. The company offers billing plans that charge by the month, every six months or annually. As a new customer, you have a choice between a steeply discounted trial membership and a prepaid membership that comes with a three-day money-back guarantee.
Information sent over PureVPN's enterprise VPN is given a standard 256-bit encryption and delivered using a range of VPN protocols, including IPsec, OpenVPN and PPTP client. Prepaid service packs include free smart DNS access, which automatically routes traffic through servers that are not subject to location-based restrictions for content delivery. One security feature PureVPN offers with its enterprise VPN service is what the company calls its "internet kill switch." This tool monitors the status of your connection and shuts down browsing sessions if the network is compromised or unauthorized parties attempt to force through a secure connection. By blocking all data transfers until a secure connection can be reestablished, the kill switch prevents sensitive information being sent over a less-than-secure network.
PureVPN guarantees a 99.99 percent uptime rate for its enterprise VPN service. In the event the service crashes or develops some other difficulty, live customer support is available through the company website, which features a chat window on every page. Continuous and unlimited server switching keeps your IP anonymous and prevents throttling by service providers. All of the company's service plans offer this service, and PureVPN's promise of unlimited data transfer volumes make the standard plans suitable for both enterprise-level customers, who often have large amounts of data to transfer, and private browsers who intend to stream media.
Business and private customers alike can use PureVPN's enterprise VPN service for anonymously browsing with a secure connection. Automatic protocol selection and strong encryption ensure a secure connection, and the company's large network of servers work to balance traffic loads and ensure consistent uptime. Service plans offer little to choose from, but all offer a suite of useful features and flexible payment arrangements though it is necessary to prepay.
If you need an enterprise VPN service for a single device, or for just one device at a time, StrongVPN offers some advantages, such as diversion of bandwidth caps and evasion of forced external access by hackers. The package requires prepayment, but it comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee and a simple refund process.
StrongVPN works with most browsers and devices, but the service comes with a number of restrictions. Perhaps the most serious restriction is the requirement that only one device be used at a time. To switch from a desktop browser to a mobile device, it is first necessary to log out and then log back in with your mobile device. Another restriction is that StrongVPN does not offer trial memberships to new customers, though the company promises an immediate refund within seven days of starting the service.
Many online forums and P2P sites protect authorized users by restricting access to individual IP addresses. However, this can be a problem with dynamic IPs, such as is often the case when you're browsing through an enterprise VPN. StrongVPN offers the choice of having a static IP assigned to you. This IP is uniquely associated with your account, so it's possible to remain active even on forums with IP locks. Security is provided at the server level via a professionally designed and implemented firewall, which protects your computer by diverting attacks to the proxy IP rather than your own location.
StrongVPN's enterprise VPN service does not offer any specialized connection tools to boost your connection speed, but the tunnel it establishes can have the effect of widening your available bandwidth. Many ISPs impose a bandwidth cap on internet traffic, and they begin throttling service near the end of a billing cycle when you're likely to be near the cap. By using StrongVPN's proxy, your account is rendered essentially invisible to your ISP, which gets you around service caps and bandwidth limitations, potentially speeding up service.
Using StrongVPN to establish a secure enterprise VPN service may be inconvenient, as only one device may be logged in at a time, but it can also save you a lot of troubles by diverting external attacks to the company's firewall and by helping you navigate around your provider's bandwidth caps.
VPN Authority Review
VPN Authority offers an enterprise VPN service that is primarily routed through servers in the United States and the United Kingdom to circumvent geographic restrictions on streaming content. The company offers a network of servers, which it claims have been optimized to ensure a fast, secure connection. This multitude of servers compensates, in part, for the network's weak encryption algorithm.
According to the company, setting up VPN Authority only takes 15 seconds. You can set up an account by visiting the company website, logging in and downloading the appropriate software package for the platform you intend to use it with. VPN Authority works with all platforms and browsers, including gaming consoles and mobile devices. The company offers a single tier of membership, so there are no premium rates or advertisements embedded in the toolbar.
VPN Authority uses a simple 128-bit encryption system that falls short of the full 256-bit industry standard. The smaller encryption algorithm is potentially vulnerable to brute force attacks, though your data is unlikely to be compromised due to VPN Authority's multiple-server network and routine IP subnet masking.
VPN Authority offers multiple servers to deliver an uninterrupted stream of web content, audio and video. Using any of its U.S.-and U.K.-based servers gets you around regional restrictions and allows fast access to sites like BBC iPlayer, which can be problematic for non-U.K. browsers. The system allows unlimited switching for no additional cost, so you can hop from a lagging server to one with a lighter load without paying more.
It's simple to set up and start using VPN Authority's enterprise VPN service. Once installed, it works with virtually any operating system you are already using without significant alterations to your current browser configuration. Though the 128-bit encryption algorithm could be more secure, the service is routed through a remote proxy, which makes detection of your IP address unlikely. Speed is ensured by letting you choose to route your connection through the fastest available server. Switching to another, potentially faster server is always an option if your first choice begins to show a noticeable lag in streaming content or gameplay.