If your job allows you the benefit of working from home or you've been forced to work from home, then it can make a nice change from working in the office.
However, one consideration for your home office is internet security and if you're thinking of using a VPN you're probably as confused as most about which to choose.
Inside this guide I'll be covering some of the leading VPN services and pointing out each of their benefits and negatives to help you choose the best for your situation.
Working from home often means preserving the company's secrets, protecting its resources, and not allowing hackers or competitors to spy on what you are doing by intercepting the data travelling between your computer and your firm's servers.
One of the best ways to do this is by using a VPN.
However, VPNs are many in number, and it is not always easy to determine which one is the correct option.
So let's find out what your choices are:
ExpressVPN is easily one of the best VPN services that you can get, and it is perfect for protecting your online data flow from surveillance, whether by hackers, competitors, or even the government itself.
It protects your information by using the best security and privacy features, such as the OpenVPN security protocol that shields your traffic, and 256-bit AES encryption that makes the data unreadable to anyone who might try to collect it.
In addition to that, ExpressVPN also has a massive server network that will allow you to connect to different locations limiting the impact it will have on your speeds, as well as hiding your own identity and location.
ExpressVPN offers dedicated apps for numerous devices, and it even has a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case you discover that it doesn't work well for you.
When testing from our home office, we found features like the kill switch, DNS leak protection, split tunnelling, allowed us to enhance our online security and at speeds that didn't affect our workflow.
30-day money back guarantee
Next up, we have CyberGhost. This is another highly-secure and very popular VPN that doesn't keep logs, has the same powerful security features as ExpressVPN, and it supports multiple systems and devices.
With CyberGhost, you get an even more significant number of servers – 5,700 as opposed to ExpressVPN's 3,000 and it covers almost the same amount of countries, 89, where ExpressVPN offers 94.
CyberGhost is also similar in terms of prices, although it should be mentioned that it has a longer-lasting money-back guarantee at 45 days.
Their desktops apps do take up quite some screen space when connecting to a server but after connection, this isn't an issue as you can minimise it like others. Apart from this, we like the quickness of connection and the reliability.
45-day money back guarantee
Then, there is NordVPN. A VPN service that sits right at the top with the previous two and is pretty much considered their equal in terms of privacy and security.
It doesn't keep logs, it is located in a privacy-friendly nation, and it has the same security features that will keep you safe while working or browsing privately.
Their service is cheaper but you'll need to commit to a longer subscription of up to 3-years which may be a little too extended depending on your home working situation.
NordVPN's server network is somewhat smaller. It has 5,600 servers in 59 countries but our tests show good speeds and there are mostly good reviews for the service from other sources.
Apps are available for all major devices and we like how easy they are to use. Useful if you're new to VPN or not great with technology.
30-day money back guarantee
Nearing the end of the list, we have VyprVPN. Another highly-secure and fast VPN service that keeps no logs and has excellent security, quite similar to what was offered by previous providers.
They're one of the older VPN services in existence which shines through with their experienced product.
It offers a server network that covers 70 locations, although somewhat fewer countries. It provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, and because it has been around for years, it makes it reliable and respected.
We like VyprVPN a lot and they've improved their service massively in recent years. If you're looking for a time-served service, then they're worth checking out.
30-day money back guarantee
Lastly, there is Surfshark. Another powerful VPN that will allow you to work online and not reveal any sensitive information or leave any digital footprint.
Surfshark is still a young VPN, but don't let that discourage you – the service is just as powerful as the rest on this list, with the same quality of security and privacy. It has gained quite a following due to all of the features it provides.
Servers are lower than the competition currently standing at 1,040+ but they do span some 60 countries making it suitable for use in many locations.
Surfshark's price is slightly below the industry standard, so that might also help if you are looking for a budget-friendly alternative. Again, you will have to take up their longer subscription periods to take advantage as we found their monthly price to be somewhat expensive.
However, you will still have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to test it.
30-day money back guarantee
Difference between Public and Corporate VPNs
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that there are private VPNs, and then there are corporate VPNs.
The two are similar in a lot of ways, but they also have some significant differences.
Many VPNs meant for private use will do precisely what they are supposed to do when it comes to keeping you safe, but many of them can also be considered basic.
That would not work well for businesses that have more complex needs.
For example, businesses are responsible for protecting not only their sensitive data but also their employees, as well as customers.
They also have their own set of data protection laws to deal with, so they need a specific VPN that will protect them. These VPNs are known as enterprise-grade systems that are managed by IT support staff from a single, central point of control.
Some features of corporate VPNs include:
- Secure remote access to company files and intranets
- Dedicated networks unavailable for consumer access
- Corporate only user access controls
- Create usergroups and manage individual user access
- Disable access to company resources for individual users
Such VPNs are also not meant for individuals but entire teams so that companies can protect all of their remote-working employees at once.
It's essential to check with your company if they offer a corporate-based VPN solution as the above private providers would not then be suitable for your situation.
Obviously, small businesses may not have the need or resources to use such VPNs.
As for the services we have mentioned above, they are more than suitable if you need your own solution to contribute to the firm's security or if you're running a small business with just a handful of employees.
Features to look out for
One last thing to talk about is the features that you should be looking for when searching for a VPN.
Of course, the ones we have mentioned above all offer these features as standard but if you're looking to research more providers, there are some features you should ensure they contain:
1. Strong encryption — 256-bit AES
Secure encryption is vital, as it will ensure that no one can use sensitive information against you or your firm, even if they somehow manage to obtain it.
256-bit AES encryption, in particular, is the best one out there these days, and the one you should be looking for in a VPN service.
It has never knowingly been broken, and it likely won't be for quite a long while.
Check out this explainer from TheSSLStore to learn more about 256-bit encryption.
2. Apps for your devices
Most of us have numerous different devices at our disposal these days, be those desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, or something else.
It is best that you protect them all with a VPN and don't have to think about what you are doing, or what you are using it for.
This is why you should choose services that support as many systems and devices as possible.
For example, ExpressVPN allows you to protect five, while Surfshark allows an unlimited number.
However, if you have many devices you want to protect in your home office then consider a dedicated VPN router such as the Invizbox 2.
3. No log policy
Lastly, you don't want your VPN to store a record of what you do while connected to their service.
First of all, that would mean that your privacy is reduced and that the VPN might have this data taken, stolen, or even sold in some cases.
It is best to use a provider that doesn't retain any details of your connection or that is upfront and limits such connection to only required periods.
All five providers above claim to retain no data with some having been audited by third parties to confirm this true.
As technology progresses, many of us can now afford to work from home and don't have to bother with travelling to work and other similar inconveniences.
However, to do this right, we must ensure that we do not leave our companies' sensitive data exposed, and the best way to do so is to use a VPN.
You should first check if your organisation has a corporate VPN. You'll find these mostly at large organisations.
If it doesn't then after extensive testing, we found ExpressVPN to offer the best range of features so you can work at home safely.
If you don't agree with our assessment, then you've got 30-days to get a refund, so there is no risk.
I would love to hear which VPN you signed up for, for home working. Or if you've got a suggestion that isn't listed here, let me know in the comments section.