Telecommuting is no longer a concept that companies shy away from. There are many jobs that give options to staff of working from home, and plenty of people learning new skills to allow them to go into a profession with such potential. Whilst working from home has many benefits, there are several security concerns that must be addressed when considering whether you want to work from your home office, in Starbucks, or even in a park. We’ll look into more detail at the risks towards the end of this article, but we can say for sure that for telecommuters, a VPN is a must.
The Best VPNs for telecommuters
A 2015 study by Gallup revealed that the number of US workers who say they have telecommuted has grown from 9% to 37% over the past 20 years. Although this number has grown dramatically, U.S. workers telecommute only 2 days per month on average, with 9% of the U.S. workforce working remotely for 10 days in a typical month.
Why you should use a VPN for telecommuting
A VPN is a must for anyone working from home, or in a cafe, or wherever. Once you’ve left the safety of the office, you’re no longer protected by the corporate network and must take steps to mitigate the risk of losing sensitive business data.
A Virtual Private Network protects you by encrypting your internet traffic before it leaves your computer, then sending it to a secure server owned by the VPN provider, then decrypting it and sending you back the webpage you’re visiting. This all happens very quickly, and you shouldn’t notice any considerable loss of internet speed.
There are a whole load of VPN services available, and going about choosing which is the best for any specific use can be challenging, which is why we believe BestVPN is such a valuable resource.
We spend hours researching and testing VPN services to help our readers make informed decisions before they buy.
Best VPNs for Telecommuters Summary
|1||ExpressVPN review||$6.67 / month||Visit Site|
|2||IPVanish review||$5.19 / month||Visit Site|
|3||NordVPN review||$3.29 / month||Visit Site|
|4||AirVPN review||$4.82 / month||Visit Site|
|5||VPNArea review||$4.92 / month||Visit Site|
- Servers in 136 cities, spanning 87 countries
- Super fast
- Top notch customer service
- Great software
- 30-day money back guarantee
- P2P and Bitcoin
- Some connection logs
We kick off this list with my personal favourite VPN (I honestly have it connected all the time), ExpressVPN. This company provides lightning fast connections and a software client that is second to none imo.
I telecommute several days per week, and am always happy to trust ExpressVPN to keep my data safe whether I’m working from home or in a coffee shop. Connection issues are few and far between, and always resolved incredibly quickly by the expert staff who are available through website chat 24/7.
If you want a VPN that you can just to connect to and get on with your work, this is the one for you.
- High speeds
- P2P and Bitcoin
- Great software
- No live chat
IPVanish is another VPN that provides exceptional speeds thanks to their Tier-1 network of servers in 60 countries.
There is no live chat option, although the ticket system is ample and the knowledgeable staff respond quickly to queries. There are also plenty of setup guides on the website for when you’re getting started.
IPVanish is a solid VPN that protects your privacy with little to no fuss, leaving you to get on with your work. Whilst the 7-day money back guarantee isn’t as long as the 30 days from Express, it’s definitely enough time to thoroughly test out the service.
- P2P and Bitcoin
- Nice software
- Occasional speed issues
NordVPN comes in third place today as they offer really strong security as well as very easy to use software.
If you’re really looking for serious protection, Nord is a great option due to their double data encryption, zero logs policy, AND the option to use Tor over VPN.
As if that weren’t enough, the software client includes a built in killswitch, should the VPN connection go down.
- P2P and Bitcoin
- VPN Through Tor
- Requires high-level knowledge
- Not the best support
AirVPN has more advanced settings and options than almost any other provider, which is great if you’re a seasoned VPN user, but this is definitely not one for the beginner.
It supports SSL and SSH tunneling, allowing you to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN at all, as well as VPN through Tor and even port selection.
Take advantage of the three-day free trial to find out if you need the cool but potentially confusing features.
- Great support
- Great Performance
- Still in its infancy
- No Bitcoin payment option
Bulgarian based VPNArea offers a completely no logs service and lots of servers, with some in fairly unusual locations. Whilst a relatively young VPN company, our reviewer found VPNArea to be a potentially awesome VPN with only minor issues, one being that whilst their use of shared IPs can improve security drastically as it makes tracking an individual much more difficult, the relatively small customer base undermines this somewhat.
Whilst a relatively young VPN company, our reviewer found VPNArea to be a potentially awesome VPN with only minor issues, one being that whilst their use of shared IPs can improve security drastically as it makes tracking an individual much more difficult, the relatively small customer base undermines this somewhat.
Signing up to VPNArea is very straightforward, as is setting up the software client.
Best VPNs for Telecommuters Considerations
Benefits of working from home
Despite Yahoo!’s decision to limit employees remote working allowances, many companies these days are offering telecommuting options to their staff.
A huge benefit of hiring people to work remotely is that they can literally be anywhere that has an internet connection (or, increasingly, mobile signal). Companies are no longer restricted to hiring only workers that live in the immediate vicinity, but can take people on from all over the world.
George Washington University identified 5 key benefits of telecommuting.
Telecommuting can help save energy by reducing fuel consumption used for travelling to and from the office, as well as cutting down heating, cooling, lighting electricity costs required by large office buildings.
Better work-life balance:
A significant amount of time is used to travel to and from work, in addition to working hours. This extra time can be used to help reduce stress and improve employee health.
Increased morale and productivity:
Employees who prefer a telecommuting agreement have been shown [link] to be more motivated than those in the traditional office. They are also often more productive due to being away from office politics, noise, and distractions.
By allowing employees to work from anywhere they choose, telecommuting has the flexibility to accommodate changes in employees’ personal situations, meaning people won’t just quit if they have to move to a new country etc. This helps companies enjoy savings in recruitment and training.
Significant savings can be made in real office costs, both rent and upkeep, equipment, and parking for the employer, and employees enjoy lower transportation costs and less travel time.
Whilst the above benefits can be alluring to both employees and employers alike, work from home arrangements are not always perfect. As a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detailed:
“Telecommuting has not permeated the American workplace, and where it has become commonly used, it is not helpful in reducing work-family conflicts; telecommuting appears, instead, to have become instrumental in the general expansion of work hours, facilitating workers’ needs for additional worktime beyond the standard workweek and/or the ability of employers to increase or intensify work demands among their salaried employees”
Another report, this time from The Wall Street Journal, suggests that the use of monitoring systems by employers could potentially violate employee privacy.
Telecommuting security issues
First and foremost, employees should be made aware of the importance of data security, and be accountable for loss of computers, resulting from lack of diligence in public, this is a very real threat. As is loss of data through hacking or malware.
Employees should be taught the importance of using strong passwords, and encouraged to use password creation and management software such as KeePass.
If using USB sticks, encrypt data using VeraCrypt to ensure that company secrets can’t be found out due to an employee leaving a USB stick in a cafe.
Use proper security software. This may seem obvious, but the employer should ensure that a good antivirus and firewall is set-up on any company laptops prior to them being issued.