COVID-19 or the Novel Coronavirus pandemic has certainly disrupted our daily lives. It has taken a devastating toll on the world’s economy and has forced the workforces of millions to seek refuge and work from home to maintain social distance.
What was once considered a perk that was only available for the affluent, is now becoming a growing trend among all working social classes. Just to give you a perspective, before the pandemic, around 7% of civilian workers in the U.S had an option to work from home. However, this number has drastically changed over the past few months.
This new trend has drastically increased the use of remote working and team collaboration tools like Zoom, Hubstaff, Slack, Dropbox, and more. However, one technology that has seen an even more astronomical surge in demand is VPN.
Ever since January, the volume of malicious emails has rocketed. According to RISKIQ, they analyzed around 115,926 COVID-19 spam emails just in a single day. But that’s not the only reason. Due to the barrage of cybersecurity risks that have surfaced recently, VPN providers are now dealing with an increased influx of new users.
With the massive paradigm shift inflicted by the coronavirus and the increased strain on the already saturated VPN industry, we at TheVPNExperts reached out to six of the top tier VPN providers with a series of questions to see how they’re dealing with the onslaught of new users.
Data Collection From the Top 6 VPN Providers
For our research, we reached out to the most recognized VPN providers in the industry with a questionnaire comprising seven questions. Here is the list of providers that have generously collaborated in our data research:
Now, we’ll go through all six of our questions and see what each provider has answered.
Americas and Europe are Showing the Most Number of VPN Users
Based on the data collected, the most number of new users gained by all six providers are from the Americas. In the second position, Europe showed the most number of new users followed by Asia and Australia. As for the African region, no new users have been reported by any of the providers.
VPN Services Don’t Agree on the Rise of VPN Usage Due to Remote Working
Since more and more employees are working remotely from home these days, we wanted to find out if that’s the only reason why we’re seeing such a significant surge in the use of VPNs.
Here’s what each VPN provider stated:
Because we operate under a strict No-logs policy, we have no idea what our Ghosties are doing online. However, we do see an increase in the usage of our dedicated streaming profile.
Due to the rapid COVID-19 spread, many companies are experiencing a new challenge of remote work. For most, the situation comes as a stress-test of operating teams using only online tools and means of communication.
Internal networks in offices are carefully set up and maintained by admins. However, it’s much more difficult to control the safety of each remote employee’s network.
Also, the vast majority of small businesses don’t have a dedicated CTO who would take care of the company’s cybersecurity. Using a VPN is relatively easy and doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge; therefore many companies rely on it when it comes to working from home.
VPNs can be used to access geo-restricted content, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on unsecured Wi-Fi, and more. As users around the world spend more time at home, we understand that our service becomes even important during this period.
Yes. As people are working longer hours, in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic and overall, we see the mass increase in remote work.
No, as we do not sell business VPNs. It comes from the usage of streaming services.
IPVanish didn’t provide a very thorough answer, however, it’s clear that they’re also seeing an increase in usage due to remote working.
Surfshark is Optimistic of the Future of VPN services
When we asked each provider whether the increased usage will suddenly die down as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over, most providers responded with a simple no. While PrivateVPN believes that its demand will decrease after the chaos is over, Surfshark and NordVPN believe that more companies will continue using their service considering all the benefits of remote working.
It is hard to predict the exact numbers. However, I’m sure that after the COVID-19 is tamed, society will be more aware of the cyber threats, as this topic receives a fair share of the media’s attention at the moment. There are many comprehensive articles about the necessary security measurements for remote work, which incentivize to practice good cyber hygiene.
A lot of companies will see the advantages of remote working and will start to apply it on a daily basis. So, we could not say that this will fall down noticeably.
The Future of VPN and Remote Working
COVID-19 has allowed a lot of companies to realize the possibility of remote working. But there are still mixed feelings. According to a study, only 5% of employees claim their company willfully chooses to prevent remote work, despite having the capability to provide it.
But we are certain, with secure remote access to company networks will not only improve work-life balance but will also safeguard the infrastructure from breaches.
It is hard to predict the exact numbers. However, I’m sure that after the COVID-19 is tamed, society will be more aware of the cyber threats, as this topic receives a fair share of the media’s attention at the moment.Surfshark
Positive Overall Impact of VPN Usage During COVID-19
Based on our survey, all six providers reported an increased number of users. That’s pretty obvious considering that VPN usage has risen exponentially.
Another surprising data that we uncovered through our data, is the increased usage of NordVPN Teams. This would mean that NordVPN is increasingly being used by businesses.
United States Accounts For the Most Number of Users During COVID-19
In total, the data that we got from all six providers is comprised of 20 countries. However, if we break down the data and consider only the commonalities, then we can see five countries that are common.
Percentage-wise, all six providers reported that most of their users are from the United States, which contributes to around 33.3%. Moving forward, the U.K, Canada, and Australia showed the most number of users. Percentage-wise, this contributed to about 22.2%.
Since there was an influx in VPN users in USA, we decided to test the VPN services that works the best in USA.
Last but not least, the United Kingdom and France showed the most number of users. If we talk about percentages, this would contribute to about 11.1%.
‘Evening’ is the Busiest Time on Servers
Since VPNs tend to work better at certain times of day, we wanted to see what is the peak time when each provider faces the most load on its servers. From the feedback that we got from all six providers, evening time seems to be the busiest. Percentage-wise, it contributes to 66.7%.
Late night and Afternoon times, on the other hand, contributes to 16.7%. So overall, as per data, the best time to use a VPN is in the morning. That’s when the servers are least crowded.
Customer Service is Par and the Providers are Ready to Deal With the Influx
Since increased usage is putting a lot of strain on VPN providers, we wanted to see what special measures have each provider taken to ensure the quality of service amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Here’s what each of our six providers stated:
Our customer service is very flexible and when the amount of requests is growing, we allocate more people to take care of these cases. So, there is no special dealing, only the right requests distribution.
It’s crucial for us to be here for our community. So, we took all the necessary measures to maintain our regular 24/7 Customer Support services. We’re still available via live chat and email and continue to handle requests in English, German, French, and Romanian.
We’ve seen an increase in customer support tickets. However, our team is well-trained and ready to tackle the fluctuations which are quite often in our industry.
We are equipped to handle the influx.
We’ve hired more staff members.