According to the latest research from Global Web Index, the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) is rising rapidly. In fact, last month 25% of all internet users accessed a VPN, per their “VPN users around the world report.”
There’s a good chance several of your customers are among those using VPNs, for reasons ranging from changing their IP address to access geo-restricted content to enhancing their online security. While these are excellent reasons to use VPNs (as well as file sharing, remote control and online anonymity), choosing the wrong one can invite several problems. As described in our latest infographic, some VPNs can limit your bandwidth or put limits on the number of server switches supported. Here are some additional pitfalls IT solution providers should be aware of so they can help their customers avoid them.
Hidden Dangers of Free VPNs
At the moment, there’s an explosion of VPN service providers, and the numbers will continue to grow in the future. Though the surge of the VPN market promotes competition and innovation, it also makes it a breeding ground for substandard services and fraudulent schemes. (The infographic mentioned earlier highlights several deficiencies that exist with many of today’s VPN services.)
Compounding the problem is that some VPN service providers are involved in nefarious activities, such as giving third-party access to users’ data. Additionally, 38% of free VPNs were found to contain malware, and 75% of free VPN apps contained tracking embedded in the source code, according to research from VirusTotal and CSIRO, respectively.
One could argue that the absence of watchdogs, who would enforce VPN standards, has inadvertently promoted the level of unprofessionalism present in the industry today.
Education: The Best Defense Against Dangerous VPN Practices
Many of the problems described above are inherent with free VPN software (along with additional problems not mentioned here). IT solution professionals can temper the harmful impact of the explosive surge of fraudulent and substandard VPN services by educating their customers about the pitfalls of free VPN services. Providing customers and prospects with a checklist of the basic functionalities of a quality VPN is especially helpful. Don’t have that checklist handy? Don’t worry, we have one you can use. Check out our infographic, which highlights the four qualities that make up a viable VPN service as well as seven hidden dangers of free VPNs, comparisons of common VPN protocols and more.