The business benefits of using a VPN are often underestimated. In fact, many companies aren’t even aware of them. Rather, there is a perception that VPNs are only for cybercriminals or people who want to stream foreign TV shows. I’d like to dispel this in today’s Express VPN review.
But first, a little bit of context. In the last few years, there have been two major shifts in the way organisations operate. One is an increase in remote working. While this has had a great effect on many of our work-life balances, it still presents some practical challenges. We’ll look at this in a little more detail later.
Then there’s the ever increasing emphasis on data security. Businesses leverage more sensitive data than ever before. This has led to an increase in both awareness and regulations when it comes to internet privacy. But this comes with pitfalls. Companies need to have iron-clad security if they want to maintain a good reputation, or more importantly avoid costly fines.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Express VPN.
What is Express VPN?
In the interest of fairness, I’ll go back to absolute basics. So, what is a VPN? Well, it stands for Virtual Private Network. In lay terms, a VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the public internet. They also let you access the internet as if you were in a different location. Express VPN, unsurprisingly, provide a VPN service.
Ok, so how is this any use for businesses? Let’s go back to the contexts I set out at the beginning of this Express VPN review. Say you have staff out on the road. Maybe they’re accessing your systems using public WiFi in a hotel or a cafe. Who knows what kind of security a public network has. Better to have an extra line of defence.
Or maybe they’re even further afield. Say you have a remote worker in Bali but they need an IP address from back home to access certain systems. Many email servers will automatically send foreign IP address to the junk folder too. There’s plenty of legitimate reasons why you might want to be act like you’re somewhere you aren’t.
So now that we’ve established that VPNs aren’t just for watching Nordic crime dramas, let’s go into a bit more detail. The crux of this Express VPN is going to rest on two factors. Speed and flexibility.
Let’s start with the latter. Express VPN currently operate over 2000 servers in 148 locations across 94 countries. That’s including every country in the European Union and most of the Americas. What I thought was especially interesting is that, if you have needs beyond that, you can even request a server location.
On the speed front, Express VPN has a native feature called ‘Speed Test’. Basically this figures out what’s the fastest server location for your network. This is crucial, as a decent VPN should act in the background, without spoiling your performance.
We need to consider security too of course. Express VPN uses an encryption standard called AES-256. This level of encryption is functionally impervious to a brute-force attack. For context, it’s the same standard used by the FBI. This makes Express VPN best-in-class on security.
I came across some additional surprise factors while researching this Express VPN review too. One of these is the number of native deployments available. This makes installation as simple as downloading the app directly to your Windows, Android, Linux, IOS or MacOS device. There’s also extensions for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Alternatively, it can be installed directly onto most routers.
This means that setup is completely hassle free. In fact, I was able to get up and running within a couple of minutes.
Are there any negatives to report in this Express VPN review? There aren’t too many. My main gripe is to do with licensing options. Namely, you can only use three devices under a single license. This is fine for individual users and small organisations. Still, it poses obvious problems for scalability, and it means that bigger companies may need to look elsewhere.
Some people might also be put off by the options for contacting the company. In fact, there’s no public phone number or email address. This is to do with the nature of Express VPN as a company, and it’s pretty common in this sector. I’l also qualify this by saying that they offer 24/7 customers support via live chat, and I’ve never heard a bad word said about their level of service.
Express VPN Review: Final Verdict
What’s my overall opinion then? In terms of features and security, Express VPN is hard to look past. However, as I said the lack of bulk licensing means it’s not suitable for any organisation. Still, I can see it being massively valuable for small organisations. It could be a great option for freelancers who want a bit of extra security too.
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