Small-scale businesses are blooming and expanding in Africa, regardless of their industry. If not all, most employees in such organizations will spend at least some time working remotely.
According to a Reuters’ poll in 2012, 20% of workers around the globe will complete up to 10% of their daily work from home using mobile telecommunications such as smartphones and laptops.
Telecommuting is essential for small businesses to interact with their business suppliers and remote employees and the World Wide Web is the preferred medium of communication.
While a shift towards digital communication is flexible and beneficial for small businesses, it also leaves them exposed to digital data security breaches.
How are small-scale African companies susceptible to data breaches?
Several scenarios make a business susceptible to attack:
- Free Wi-Fi access at the office, which anyone can access, spy on, or steal from.
- Remote entrepreneurs and employees could work from insecure locations, like a café with open Wi-Fi.
- A remote work team could transfer data online without proper safety measures, which can result in malicious injections and data theft.
- International employees could face internet restrictions depending on their location, for example, ongoing cybersecurity controversies in Zimbabwe.
What’s the solution for secure work communications?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection is an increasingly popular solution to uplift the security level. A VPN creates an encrypted connection to protect the data and tunnels the traffic through a proxy server, making it almost impossible for hackers to access confidential (or any other) information.
Additionally, VPN users are anonymous and can change their location virtually, allowing them to access geo-restricted sites, services, and data.
For example, if you’re in Dubai for a business meeting and want to use Google Talk for video conferencing, a VPN can spoof a U.S. location, allowing you to access the service.
But security is not the only benefit of using a VPN for your small business network!
3 reasons why you need a VPN for your small business
1. Easy Scaling for Business
A VPN is not only recommended not only for data security but also from the perspective of more straightforward scaling. You can use a VPN to enable new systems to interconnect with each other with little configuration. For a small business who wants to expand its network to a new location, this virtual technology reduces the time and tools required to bring the new systems alive on its corporate network.
In short, you can securely extend the existing network to encompass the networks of two or more offices, including home workers or mobile users.
2. Effective Cost and Maintenance for the Organization
Small businesses may have limited resources to take care of security issues, but a single VPN connection for all remote networks ensures that confidential information is kept private.
There’s no need to invest in costly security servers or understand grandiose technical specifications with a VPN. With the introduction of software-only packages and on-the-fly VPN tools, it has become easy to quickly configurable and maintain security for small businesses.
3. Secure Browsing for Employees
A VPN hides all visited URLs and content searches so that neither you nor your employees need to worry about an ISP logging your data.
By introducing a VPN connection, small businesses simply but smartly add a layer of security, which otherwise can cost them a lot!