While some of us have always worked remotely, the pandemic forced entire employee rosters to move online to keep businesses alive.
Organizations had to rapidly pivot to digital environments and manage their teams through virtual meetings and apps. For many employees, however, the move to remote work improved their productivity and work-life balance. As a result, rolling back to office-only work has been a challenge for businesses now unwilling to offer hybrid or fully-remote roles, with some employees going so far as to resign or change jobs.
No matter where you sit on the issue, hybrid and remote work is here to stay for the foreseeable future — and the companies willing to adapt need to ensure that their staff can access corporate resources safely and securely.
Both businesses and consumers have the option to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for this purpose. A VPN is a service that encrypts and protects your internet traffic, allowing you to not only securely browse the internet, but also to change your location and mask your IP address.
VPN usage is legal in most countries — with exceptions including North Korea, Belarus, and Iraq — and, when possible, should always be used when you connect to a public or open Wi-Fi access point as you do not know who may be eavesdropping on your activities.
Suppose you are working remotely. If you are considering a move to a new country and would like to know their rank when it comes to connectivity and security, new research released by Proxyrack will interest you.
What makes a country secure for remote workers
The proxy provider has compiled a report on factors that may impact remote worker connectivity and safety. This includes a country’s percentage of the population with access to a VPN, how many people have internet access overall, the number of 5G hotspots per 100,000 people, and how countries rank in the National Cyber Security Index (NCSI). Proxyrack has issued countries with an overall remote worker security score by combining these data points, alongside elements including happiness and salaries.
It may come as no surprise that Switzerland, a country well-known for its strong privacy and data retention laws — making it a favored location for privacy tool providers — ranked as the number one place for remote workers and their security. Switzerland achieved a score of 7.62 out of 10, with 93.56% of the population having access to the internet, an NCSI score of 76.62, and 70.43 5G hotspots per 100,000 people. 11.17% of the population have access to a VPN.
The Netherlands is tied for first place with a remote worker security score of 7.62. The Netherlands has far fewer hotspots — only 7.48 per 100,000 individuals — and only 90.82% of the population has internet access, but VPN access (26.54%) scored highly. The country has also earned an NCSI score of 83.12.
In third is the United Kingdom, with an overall score of 7.55. The UK, with an NCSI score of 77.92, ranked relatively well on 5G hotspots (15.06 per 100,000), VPN access (23.86%), and overall internet access (94.44%).
Singapore, Luxembourg, and Denmark follow these countries.
Where the US ranks
While the United States does appear in the top 10 remote worker security tables, the country only ranked seventh. Approximately 92.01% of the population have internet access, there are 12.55 5G hotspots per 100,000 people, and 23.12% of the population have access to a VPN. Overall, the country has an NCSI score of 64.94.
Also: The best VPN services
Whether or not you live in one of the top three countries for VPN access — the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia — a VPN is an essential tool for remote workers who want additional security when they are online.
If you’re searching for a VPN, ZDNET has guides on the top VPN providers overall, for travel, streaming, mobile devices, torrenting, and more. In most categories, our top choices are currently ExpressVPN and NordVPN.