The Best VPN Protocols For Online Businesses
If you’re an online business owner, it’s important to make sure your business is safe online and protected against the threat of cybercriminals.
Using a VPN is one of the most effective ways of keeping your business safe from online attacks, but the level of security your VPN is able to offer you will be largely determined by the protocol it’s using.
What is a VPN Protocol?
A VPN protocol is a set of rules that determines the strength of your connection every time you connect to your VPN. Some of these protocols have been around for a long time, some of them a couple of years, and others, such as NordLynx, are relatively new inventions built using existing protocol technology.
Every VPN is different and will support a variety of different protocols. As a VPN user, it’s important for you to be aware of the different protocols that are out there, to make sure your VPN is compatible with the most recent protocols and that it isn’t reliant on an archaic protocol network that could ultimately see your information exposed to hackers. As protocols get older, they stop getting updated regularly as attention moves to new protocols. As a result, they become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Most VPNs will offer a choice of protocols that you can use while you’re connected to their servers. This article will give you a run-through of the major protocols that are out there and the benefits available to your online business.
This is the default protocol for most of the major VPNs. It’s an open-source protocol, which means it works across multiple platforms but does require third-party software (provided by most VPNs) to operate. OpenVPN is very flexible, which means it can be easily updated in-line with any cybersecurity best-practice changes. It’s not the fastest protocol out there, but it is one of the safest and most secure.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
This protocol is probably worth staying away from unless your online business specializes in video streaming. PPTP has been around for a long time and has plenty of security vulnerabilities that still haven’t been fully addressed due to its age. As it's one of the earliest VPN protocols, it’s still adopted by VPNs that have a focus on compatibility with Windows and Linux operating systems, but we’d suggest you stay well clear.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)
SSTP was developed by Microsoft and introduced with Windows Vista, making it ideal for small business owners that operate their business using Microsoft computers. While this protocol is compatible with Linux, macOS, and Android, don’t expect to see the same degrees of functionality. SSTP is a great choice for business owners as it provides relatively robust security thanks to its SSL 3.0 encryption, but it’s worth noting that this protocol is associated with certain vulnerabilities.
L2TP/IPSec (Layer Two Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security)
If you’re unable to use OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec is the next best alternative. It offers a great balance of performance and security as it essentially comprises two unique protocols that are bundled together; L2TP doesn’t offer any encryption so it’s partnered with IPsec, which handles the authentication between the VPN server and your devices. The only thing going against L2TP/IPSec is if you live in a country that blocks the use of VPNs, it’s likely that you won’t be able to use it as it’s so easily restricted.
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange)
This is a fast and incredibly stable protocol that’s ideal for businesses that require quick uploads and downloads of large files. It’s very compatible with mobile devices too, as IKEv2 was originally created to facilitate back and forth switches between Wi-Fi and mobile internet without losing the VPN tunnel. There are no known security issues with IKEv2 at the time of writing, making it a safe and secure protocol that does everything most small business owners will need it to. If you’re going to be using mobile devices as part of your small business, IKEv2 should definitely be a priority.
OpenVPN does everything that you need a protocol to do and should always be your go-to choice. Its reputation for security coupled with the fact that it’s protected against most known security threats makes it the easiest way of keeping your online business safe from cybercriminals.
That said, you may want to consider IKEv2 as an alternative if you know the nature of your business is going to result in a lot of traveling and accessing emails and important files through mobile devices.