Hardware VPN: Is it really what you need?
If you are looking for a device to encrypt your internet traffic and protect every device connected to it, a hardware VPN might seem like a reasonable option. But are you sure these often expensive devices are right for you?
VPN for home users
Dedicated IP addresses, extra VPN tunnels, and remote access might not be relevant to home users, who can opt for more straightforward and much cheaper solutions. A VPN-enabled router, a VPN on their current router, or a software subscription might be a more practical choice.
On the other hand, the aforementioned features are vital for some enterprises. But with so many options available, how can a company pick the best hardware or software VPN for its business needs?
VPN for businesses: Hardware vs. Software
Let’s compare hardware VPNs and software VPNs by looking at the key factors: speed, setup, maintenance, updates, remote access, scalability, and price.
You may have read that hardware VPNs are faster and more reliable than a server-based VPN solution. However, this was only true more than a decade ago, when computers had lower processor speeds and struggled to multitask. Nowadays, even our smartphones are capable of simultaneously running multiple programs (including a software VPN) with little to no impact on their performance.
In addition to this, any occasional speed issues with a software VPN can usually be fixed in a matter of few clicks, i.e., by restarting your device or choosing a different server location.
Setup, maintenance, and updates
Setting up a software VPN requires simple installation and can be done in minutes. Even a beginner will be able to do it, and if not, most providers offer 24/7 online support.
On the other hand, setting up a hardware VPN will require more technical expertise. Because it usually doesn’t have a user interface, you will have to configure your VPN hardware device manually. Setting up remote access for your employees will also be much trickier, but we’ll cover this in the following section.
When it comes to updates, software VPNs also have an advantage. If you are using a software VPN, you’ll probably hear about the latest updates from the service provider as soon as they are released (these could appear in the form of pop-ups, app store reminders or email reminders). Many software VPNs also offer extra VPN security features such as NordVPN’s CyberSec or VPN browser extensions.
Hardware VPNs create secure and encrypted connections so that employees can access the company’s intranet away from the office. However, setting this up is quite complicated.
Not all software VPNs can provide remote access, but NordVPN’s Dedicated IP service can be used to create a system that provides the same functionality.
How does it work? NordVPN can give your employees a dedicated IP address that you can then add to a whitelist. If a remote employee needs access to the company’s intranet, simply whitelist their IP address.
Does that sound complicated? No problem – if you become a NordVPN Business Account user, your dedicated customer support experts will walk you through it.
Another vital factor every business should consider is how easy (or difficult) it’ll be to upgrade their VPN if the company expands. Firstly, each hardware VPN only provides a limited number of VPN tunnels. This means that if your company is growing, you will probably soon have to invest in a new device. It’s more cost effective and much easier to upgrade a software VPN as you will only need to buy an extra account for each new employee.
Hardware devices are priced anywhere between $50 and $1000 (sometimes even more), while a VPN app will cost as little as a few dollars per month/per user.
A hardware VPN is a costlier option and might only be affordable to large corporations, while software is entirely scalable, working well for everything from startups to multinational corporations.
Which is best for you?
A software VPN is the perfect option for small and medium businesses that are looking to expand and need a simple solution that’s flexible, adaptable, and easy to manage. Hardware VPNs might appeal more to large corporations that might have bigger budgets and are not planning to grow dramatically.
NordVPN business account
NordVPN offers businesses advanced VPN solutions that include:
- Dedicated IP addresses (reserved for a single user or group use)
- A dedicated account manager and a 24/7 priority support team
- License transferability – easily transfer user licenses from one account to another
- Centralized billing – pay in one installment
- User administration – manage all user accounts from a single account