A virtual private network (VPN) is a smart investment for small businesses. Typically offered as a service — which you pay either a monthly or annual fee to use — it creates a private and secure network on a public network, such as the internet. Rather than connecting directly to a website or web service, for example, you can connect to a VPN, which then tunnels your connection in a secure environment to the website or web service.

Unless you’ve used a VPN before, though, you might be skeptical of using one for your small business. While VPNs require a monetary investment, they can pay off for your small business in the following ways.

Protection Againt MITM Attacks

A VPN can protect your small business against man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. During a MITM attack, a hacker infiltrates an unsuspecting victim’s connection for the purpose of either stealing or modifying the data sent or received by the victim. If you’re trying to log in to a website, for instance, a hacker could capture your username and password, using this information at a later date to hijack your account.

While not a foolproof safeguard, a VPN can reduce your small business’s risk of suffering MITM attacks using encryption algorithms. In other words, it encrypts the data sent and received by your small business. Even if a hacker can access this data, he or she wouldn’t be able to read it without the encryption key.

Privacy Protection

You can protect your small business, as well as your employees, from privacy concerns by investing in a VPN. Without a VPN, websites and web services will be able to see your small business’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. As a result, they’ll know your location.

For anonymity and increased privacy protection over the internet, you need to use a VPN. Websites and web services may still look at your IP address, but they’ll see the VPN’s IP address rather than your small business’s actual IP address. Therefore, you can browse websites and use web apps without exposing your small business’s true IP address and its location.

Bypass Regional Restrictions

A VPN can even help your small business avoid regional restrictions when browsing the internet and using web services. It’s frustrating when you try to visit a website or use a web service, only to discover that it’s blocked in your small business’s location. Since it masks your small business’s true IP address with its own server’s IP address, however, a VPN allows you to bypass regional restrictions such as this.