Business Choice Awards 2019: VPN Services for Work, Remote Access

Sep 30, 2019 · 4 min read

Virtual private network services are making in-roads at home, as they should, but at work, they’ve been around a lot longer, allowing remote access to servers and services for telecommuters or people who just can’t stop working.

This Business Choice survey looks at remote-access VPNs for the second time, adding questions about paid VPN services people use at work that make them (or at least make the IT people) feel truly secure.

VPN Services for Work

This comprehensive VPN service is the favorite for business users, who singled it out for excellent reliability and ease of use, and found that ExpressVPN doesn’t do much to degrade device performance or internet speeds.

Whether you set it up yourself or IT did it for you, ExpressVPN is the VPN users in the trenches prefer. The service scored the highest overall satisfaction score at 8.9 (out of 10), plus high scores for reliability, ease of use, tech support, device performance, and internet speeds. It tied its high score with Private Internet Access on trustworthiness and the likelihood to be recommended to colleagues.

It’s pretty neck-and-neck with Private Internet Access in fact. The service-which won our Readers’ Choice award for consumer use of VPNs-topped ExpressVPN on one particular metric: value. Its 8.9 there was a tie with NordVPN. Private Internet Access also earned a slightly higher Net Promoter Score of 78 (out of 100) compared to ExpressVPN’s 72.

NordVPN is the most used of the VPNs in our survey, but more users doesn’t always equal happier users. Nord’s scores are all a trifle bit behind with the exception of setup, where it was on top with a 9.4, and a tied high tech support score of 8.6 with ExpressVPN.

The scores for these three services are all pretty great and you won’t regret signing up for any of them, to be honest, if the numbers are any indicator. The one you and your business will want to avoid is Symantec’s Norton Secure VPN, which does poorly across every metric.

Remote Access VPNs

Pulse Secure
A new contender arrives to take out the big names in remote access VPNs: Pulse Secure nailed the award this year with high scores and praise from business users. When your office is planning to offer telecommuting, tell them to go with Pulse Secure for your at-home connection.

With a VPN service, anyone—even an employee—can sign up and feel secure, but remote-access VPNs are a bit trickier. They require the IT department that sets up servers to provide access to those logging in. So while the traffic is still secure, access is specific to the business.

Last year, the favorite for encrypting such traffic was Cisco with its AnyConnect software, but for 2019 the award goes to Pulse Secure.

While Cisco AnyConnect had the same overall score it earned last year—8.3—Pulse Secure finished with an overall score of 8.5, more than enough to take the prize. Interestingly, Pulse Secure, Cisco, and OpenVPN all earned the same score of 7.8 for likelihood to be recommended to colleagues, but Pulse got the highest Net Promoter Score from the same question (26 out of 100).

Pulse isn’t on top in every category. Cisco is ahead for setup and device performance, and the two are tied for ease of use. Which one you pick for your business may depend on the importance of those factors.

Arguably the only vendor to avoid in remote access VPNs would be Microsoft. Last year, it had an overall satisfaction score of 7.3. While it did improve that to a 7.9 this time around, Redmond’s VPN was at the bottom of every ranking, with an especially poor score for tech support at 6.9.

The PCMag Business Choice survey for VPNs was in the field from August 12, 2019 through September 3, 2019. For more information on how the survey is conducted, read the survey methodology.

Originally published at on September 30, 2019.

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