If you’re running a business and want to equip your office with a reliable security solution to encrypt the Internet traffic of all devices connected to it, then investing in a hardware VPN might seem to be the right fit for you.
However, the question here is: do you really need these costly devices? Read on, as we’re going to take a close look at what hardware VPNs are and compare the advantages and disadvantages of hardware vs. software VPN.
What is Hardware VPN?
Hardware VPN is a virtual private network based on a stand-alone device that comes equipped with a firewall and processor. It manages VPN functions on its own such as access control, encryption, and authentication, instead of running over a device.
What is Software VPN?
Software VPNs are clients installed on your device for establishing a connection between it and a remote VPN server. While most platforms have a built-in VPN client, you can also install third-party clients to leverage more features and a superior user interface.
Hardware VPN vs. Software VPN – Which is a better solution for businesses?
While features like remote access, additional VPN tunnels, and dedicated IP addresses may not apply to home users, these are vital for some businesses. But should they pick a software or hardware VPN for their needs?
Let’s find out.
Hardware VPN devices are generally pricier, ranging from as low as $50 to as high as $1,000 (or even more), whereas software VPNs will only set you back a few dollars per month. Therefore, a hardware VPN can most likely only be afforded by large enterprises, while software works well for businesses of all sizes courtesy of its scalability.
You’ve probably heard that hardware VPNs are faster than software-based VPNs. This could have been true a decade or so ago, but not anymore – computers now support faster processor speeds for effortless multitasking!
In fact, even our mobile devices facilitate the running of multiple apps at a single time (including a VPN client) without having any major effect on their performance. If you do encounter occasional speed problems, these can often be fixed by simply connecting to a different VPN server or restarting your smartphone.
3. Remote Access
With hardware VPNs, encrypted connections can be established for employees to access the corporate intranet from any remote location. However, let’s face it – setting this up is a complicated process in itself.
You won’t come across many software VPNs that allow remote access, but PureVPN does. By using our dedicated IP VPN, you can create a convenient and secure system with similar functionality. But how does it work?
It’s straightforward and involves giving your employees dedicated IPs (one that always remains the same). Then, you whitelist them so that employees can safely gain access to the corporate intranet when needed.
Still confused? Fret not! Our customer support professionals have successfully guided thousands of PureVPN users through the entire process.
One of the most important factors that businesses should consider is whether they’ll be able to scale their VPN in the future. When it comes to hardware VPNs, there’s a limit on the number of VPN tunnels you can create.
So, in the event that your business expands, you’ll be left with no other option but to purchase a new device. A software VPN, on the other hand, is not only cost-effective but also easier to upgrade – all you’d need to do is get extra accounts for new employees.
5. Configuration & Updates
If you’ve used a software VPN before, you already know that it’s downloaded and can be set up in a matter of minutes. The process has been made so simple that even a novice can do it. However, if not, one can always take advantage of the 24/7 offered by their VPN provider.
Hardware VPNs need more technical expertise to set up as they don’t usually offer a user interface of any kind. This means that you’ll have to configure your hardware VPN appliance manually, and quite frankly, it can be a pain if you aren’t a tech-savvy individual.
Moreover, it’ll also be trickier to set up remote access for your employees. As far as updates are concerned, software VPNs have the edge over hardware VPNs. They’re going to be available for download as soon as your VPN provider releases them.
The biggest reason to use a VPN for your business is security, and hardware VPNs don’t disappoint in that area. Wondering how? Because their only function is to manage your VPN connections – nothing more, nothing less! You’ll come across many VPN-enabling devices on the market, but some of the most notable ones include the following:
- ZyWALL110 VPN Firewall
- Linksys LRT224 VPN
- GL-AR150 VPN
- UTT AC750GW Wireless VPN Router
Software VPNs, though, are more susceptible to attacks as they share a VPN server with hundreds (or even thousands) of other applications simultaneously. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t secure a software-based VPN, but it can prove a challenging task for those who have little or no know-how about security solutions.
Final Verdict – Hardware VPN or Software VPN?
To sum it up, a software VPN could be ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that plan to expand and require a simple solution which is flexible, up-gradable, and easily manageable. Hardware VPNs, though, might be best suited to large enterprises that have bigger budgets.
That said, it’s pertinent to mention that selecting the perfect VPN solution for your business is no easy task – besides, no one solution fits all! That’s precisely why we’ve analyzed the six aspects above so that you can make the best possible decision.
Put the facts on the table, take your budget into account, and start your research based on what’s most important to your business. One thing is for sure, however: there’s a right solution for your needs, you just need to put the time and effort into finding it.