These days a business without a VPN simply invites disaster – it has become one of those natural precautions that one takes without giving it much thought, like watching traffic lights when crossing a street. However, you may be not aware that your choice of VPN can invite disaster – or at least serious problems – just as well. Many business owners think that as long as they don’t use a free VPN to transfer sensitive information, they are out of harm’s way. However, the unpleasant truth is that many paid VPNs are just as untrustworthy as their shadiest free counterparts. In this article, we will cover the most important reasons why it pays to read VPN reviews and analytical articles about specific services before you sign up for anything.

1. Free VPNs aren’t really free

Consider this: to offer a reliable VPN service a provider has to maintain servers in multiple countries and have backups in case some of them go down or are overloaded. Depending on the amount of traffic going through them the cost may rise to thousands of dollars for each server, amounting to very impressive sums on the whole. Unless you believe that there are multiple philanthropists around the world paying all this money so that your business can have free VPN, you should understand that they make up for their losses in some other ways. And as they don’t declare them openly, they are likely to be not very pleasant for clients.

2. They can collect your data

Ironically, most free VPN providers do something that betrays the VPN meaning – they collect your Internet usage data, including what websites you visit, which apps you use, which stores you frequent, what you buy and so on. This data is quite valuable and can be either sold to third parties or used to their own advantage.

Thus, the majority of free VPNs function in precisely the opposite way to what they are supposed to be doing: instead of hiding your identity and protecting you from privacy breaches they collect your info and sell it to the highest bidder. For a business, it can be a critical blow to its security, as this data is likely to contain information crucial to its functioning.

3. They often work poorly (if at all) in countries with restricted Internet

We mean China first and foremost, of course. China is very serious about restricting access to certain parts of the Internet, and in order to work with sufficient stability and speed in China, a VPN should have excellent encryption protocols and powerful servers. If you have any experience in this field, you know that even many paid VPNs barely function in China. If they work at all, they take forever to load anything but the simplest pages. If you do any business in China, and your employees regularly go there on business trips, make sure to find out how well the VPN of your choice functions there.

4. They can sell your bandwidth

Some VPN providers have been revealed to either sell your bandwidth to third parties or use it in their own peer-to-peer network. This brings with itself two problems: Firstly, your Internet connection is going to be much slower as long as you use a VPN. Secondly, the network will use your computer as a server, and your IP may appear instead of someone else’s when they connect. If they engage in illegal activities, you may get into trouble. While this is unpleasant enough for individuals, for a business, it can bring about fatal reputational losses.

5. A VPN can be a front for a scam

When you use a VPN, it means that all your traffic goes through a server controlled by a provider. It can potentially be used to get access to all your vital information: mail, bank accounts, documents, user logins and so on.

As you may see, it is better to be safe than sorry – take your time studying what this or that VPN provider is before committing to anything, and you will avoid serious risks. There are plenty of resources providing trustworthy information on this subject, and you have no reason to forgo studying them.