Pros and Cons of Using a VPN for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you face growing online security and privacy risks. Connecting through a virtual private network (VPN) can protect your company, but these services also come with downsides. Here is an expanded overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of using a VPN for your startup or small business.


1. Safeguard Sensitive Business Data

VPNs encrypt all network traffic, making it much harder for hackers to steal confidential company information like customer data, financial records, strategic plans, intellectual property, and other sensitive assets. This is crucial for early-stage startups aiming to protect their ideas and innovations.

2. Support Remote Work Across Locations

Many modern small companies embrace remote work. However, having a distributed workforce operating from home networks or coffee shops also introduces security risks. A VPN allows staff to access internal systems safely while working anywhere with an internet connection.

3. Reduce Insider Data Theft

Unfortunately, over 30% of cyber attacks originate from within companies, often from employees. Having a VPN prevents staff from downloading unauthorized files locally or accessing dangerous sites that could introduce malware. This limits the ability for an employee to steal and profit from sensitive internal data.

4. Unblock Restricted Business Tools

Entrepreneurs often need access to tools and software that may get blocked in certain countries. For example, Skype is restricted in China, hindering communication. A VPN provides uninterrupted global access to all the sites and apps your teams require.

5. Stop Advertiser Tracking

By hiding your real IP address and location, VPNs prevent online trackers from monitoring which sites your business visits. This gives you greater control over your company‘s data, protects proprietary web searches from advertisers seeking your information, and reduces targeted ads.


1. Slower Speeds Impacting Operations

Routing connections through a VPN can reduce internet speeds. For non-tech companies, this may limit bandwidth-heavy uses like video calls and cloud software essential for operations. Speeds are getting better, but VPN latency can still affect voice and video quality.

2. Significant Upfront Effort to Setup

Selecting and properly setting up a VPN takes considerable IT skills many entrepreneurs lack. Allow several days upfront for purchasing, installing clients, and configuring settings across all devices. Complexity is the top barrier stopping companies from enabling this security.

3. Monthly Expense Hurting Bootstrapped Companies

Ongoing VPN fees range from $5 – $30 per user per month. This recurring cost can strain cash flows for self-funded startups. Prioritize this spend according to your level of sensitive data.

4. Scalability Challenges with Company Growth

Supporting additional users, locations, and devices with a VPN introduces management overhead for small IT teams. Evaluate options that easily scale across operating systems as your workforce and offices grow.


For most bootstrapped startups and small businesses, the enhanced data protection and secure remote work access usually outweigh the costs. Shop around for affordable solutions suited for your technical capabilities. With good setup and training, you can mitigate the slow speeds and complexity. Prioritize privacy, security, scalability, and user experience in your selection criteria.