Company
Tech

Choosing the best match: VPN for a growing Start-Up

Thomas Klose, Ronny Tiebel, Johanna Köhler

2.4.2024

We dive into the world of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and share a glimpse of insights on how and why we chose the one that suited best for our needs. 

A crucial start for our infrastructure team has been, carefully evaluating various options, weighing their pros and cons. 

In this article, we won't be endorsing any specific solutions nor will it be a sales pitch. Instead, we aim to provide you with an informative and unbiased perspective from behind the scenes. So let's get started on this exciting journey of finding the perfect VPN for our growing start-up!

The Requirements resulting from our Way of Working

There are certain circumstances in the way our teams contest their day by day work: 

At elevait the teams are working self-organized either from the office or any other place in Germany, whether it’s from home, a co-working space or another preferred location. So enabling smooth mobile work where securing all kind of data in elevait’s ecosystem is safe, is an essential condition. 

Furthermore these circumstances brought up another requirement: High security standards combined with a small code base. It is of relevance as of resource requirements. Also, it may be more error prone due to bugs that are not discovered yet or affecting the safety of the network by itself.

A fast growing company also has the claim for a remote API which allows easy maintenance and administration. As a lot of new customers, business partners and of course employees enter the company the expenses for a proper set up should be manageable and not block a lot of capacities in our infrastructure team. 

Last but not least: as a start-up settling for an economically sustainable solution is crucial and was an important decision driver in the followed selection of providers as well.

Company symbolized by a high tower with icons above to showcase the influencing factors data security, work environment and resource requirements.
Influence of Data Security, Resource Requirements and Work Environment for Companies' VPN selection.

The Market: What VPN solutions are relevant out there?

As the basic requirements were aligned and confirmed by all relevant stakeholders, the common workflow of research for matching solutions was initiated. 

Identified have been three pertinent leading contenders: 

  • WireGuard,
  • ZeroTier and 
  • Tailscale. 

Tailscale

Logo Tailscale

Tailscale is an user-friendly VPN solution designed for individuals and businesses seeking a secure and seamless network connectivity experience. Unlike traditional VPNs that can be complex to set up and manage, Tailscale offers a simplified approach, making it accessible for users with varying levels of technical expertise. An important feature as companies teams by nature are not only located to the development departments. The emphasis is on simplicity, with easy installation and configuration, allowing users to establish secure connections without the need for extensive networking knowledge. Tailscale is slightly easier for beginners as it comes along with a more streamlined interface.

At its core, Tailscale enables users to create a private network that securely connects their devices, regardless of their physical location. 

Tailscale leverages a technology called WireGuard, known for its efficiency and security, to provide a fast and reliable VPN experience. This makes it well-suited for both individual users who want to protect their online activities and businesses looking for a straightforward solution to connect and secure their distributed workforce or devices. It includes multi-factor authentication and access control lists (ACLs).

In summary, Tailscale is a VPN solution built on present-day technology, making it accessible to a broad audience interested in establishing secure and hassle-free network connections.

Wireguard

Logo Wireguard

With Wireguard, you get high-speed data performance without compromising on usability as it is also mentioned for its simplified design. While it may require a bit more technical knowledge than Tailscale, its intuitive interface makes it still accessible for both beginners and experts alike. When it comes to cross-platform support, ZeroTier may have the upper hand with its extensive compatibility. Nevertheless, Wireguard shines in speed-focused VPN scenarios. Whether looking to connect the remote teams seamlessly or prioritize a fast data transfer, Wireguard proves to be a reliable solution. Yet the given support by Wireguard calls out to be more limited compared to other providers on the market. 

ZeroTier

Logo ZeroTier

ZeroTier One is a cutting-edge, secure, and versatile networking solution designed for a wide range of applications. It integrates VPN and Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technologies, enabling devices to connect across various locations like it’s given for remote workspaces. ZeroTier is especially beneficial for professionals, embedded systems, and individuals requiring remote access to devices and networks.

ZeroTier treats the world as a single data center, simplifying network configurations across physical boundaries effortlessly. It allows direct connections between devices with minimized latency for smoother communication. It facilitates worldwide virtual networks that are easy to scale. Furthermore it comes along with an user-friendly setup and management. From an economic point of view it’s almost impossible to beat ZeroTier as it remains free of charge when the controller remains self-hosted.

With robust 256-bit end-to-end encryption and a zero-trust security model, the data remains protected against unauthorized access and eavesdropping. ZeroTier's multi-cloud mesh infrastructure facilitates communication between various cloud services, ensuring uninterrupted workflows. Emulate Layer 2 Ethernet networks globally, creating familiar LAN environments with expanded connectivity. 

Conclusion

ZeroTier One stands out for its user-friendly nature, robust security features, and versatility in connecting devices globally. It is especially suitable for the need of flexible and secure remote access solutions. However, when considering alternatives like Tailscale and Wireguard, it’s crucial to evaluate specific needs like enhanced security features, ease of use, and performance priorities. 

Each solution has its unique strengths and use cases, making them suitable for different networking requirements.

Ensuring proper setup, regular updates, and educating users on security best practices are crucial steps in maintaining a secure network environment.

Danke! Deine Nachricht ist bei uns angekommen! 

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Choosing the best match: VPN for a growing Start-Up

We dive into the world of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and share a glimpse of insights on how and why we chose the one that suited best for our needs.

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