Today the number of VPNs grows extensively, but most of them don’t have any unique feature. In the nearest future, the number of unspecific services will go down as the biggest players on the market will be able to lower the prices on the privacy protection services. At the same time, these solutions will become more focused and avoid the competition by filling specific niches - some of them will be optimized to work in the countries with strict internet censorship and to bypass restrictions. Other
VPNs will be for access to P2P, Bittorent and streaming content. While the third ones will be protecting the users' incoming and outgoing data. Most likely, VPNs will be integrated with additional services: from password managers to anonymous secure data storages to P2P networks to connections between offices for enterprises. It is very likely they will be integrated with distributed digital currencies and strong encryption based messaging apps too.
The mobile market for VPNs has been there for quite a while as a great number of people use public networks at the hotels, in cafes, at the conferences, etc. and they face security threats. The other vector that forces people to use VPNs on mobile devices (which are overtaking PCs) is the freedom of speech and access to the information in countries with the strict internet censorship.
Unfortunately, the internet censorship upsurges worldwide. Every week we notice spikes in downloads in some countries that were caused by bans of particular resources or services. IoT can become a new big niche for VPNs as issues appear wherever the unprotected data transfer is involved. The attention to IoT devices protection definitely grows. The number of IoT devices increases yearly and the value of data they collect increases too as they are responsible for important processes and get deeper penetration into our lives. As a matter of fact, most of these devices have a very limited capacity and are limited by the platform itself, which means a VPN cannot be installed on them.
Current protocols and their realization are not optimized to work with the weak hardware of IoT. Overcoming this limit might be a great challenge. Though we believe protection of smart devices will require a complex approach, which includes VPNs on routers and/or network access point too. Moreover, except of encrypting outgoing traffic, these routers will have to analyze suspicious activities. For instance, a thermostat normally transfers just a few kb/s of data. If the traffic goes to tens of mb/s, this connection should be blocked immediately.
VPN business has a great number of challenges. Promoting privacy and fighting censorship face a huge opposition of some governments and big companies. The case with The Great China Firewall (and Internet restrictions in the UAE, Russia, Iran that are getting more strict and more sophisticated) resembles the fight of a shield and a sword, of weapon and armor. Each side regularly makes a step forward to improve their technology and there is no ending to this so far. On the other hand, this is an awesome opportunity for innovative companies to find a unique solution to bypass the censorship as well as conquer the competitors in this field.
There are definitely niches and markets for VPNs that are still waiting for their moment. The usage of this technology might not be widely spread there just yet, but it might turn out to be very important in a few years. In a nowadays globalized world, some of the company employees have to be thousands of miles away from the office. At the same time it is crucial for businesses to ensure they are able to communicate with colleagues and perform their tasks without security risks. A VPN for teams is a necessary solution to prevent leaks and provide the full access to all resources.
Vasyl Diakonov, CTO
Igor Bidenko, CIO, KeepSolid
Image source: Shutterstock/Toria
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