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Coronavirus: Global VPN deployments rocket since 11 March

Business virtual private network uptake has taken off over the past 10 days as global workforces become vastly more distributed

The real extent of the rapid and vast increase in home working since the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has been revealed by research from NordVPN, which has shown a 165% spike in the use of business virtual private networks and overall sales increasing by almost 600% since 11 March 2020.

The business virtual private network (VPN) provider, whose products are now integral to the recently changed work dynamic, has seen a massive uptick now that workers around the globe have been instructed not to travel to their offices and are instead logging onto networks remotely.

Assessing the performance of its network and where pain points could emerge as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, incumbent UK network provider BT remarked on 13 March that it had been in active discussion with its customers amid the outbreak and that it was working with its enterprise customers on upgrades of their VPNs.

One of the standout findings was a 48.1% growth in the use of business VPNs in the UK in the past 12 days. The salesforce for the NordVPN Teams cyber security solution for business sales noted a 400% uptick in that time, and is certain that the trend is set to continue.

It would also appear that there has been a positive knock-on effect regarding productivity in the UK, with working hours having increased by an average of two hours per day, from nine to 11 hours. 

Looking globally, NordVPN found that the US had seen the biggest time extension of the normal working day, adding an extra three hours. As in the UK, working hours in France, Spain and Canada have increased by an average of two hours per a day. In countries such as Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, daily working hours have risen by an average of one hour.

Business VPN use in the Netherlands (240%), Canada (206%) and Austria (208%) has risen by more than 200%. Italy has seen the most modest growth in business VPN usage, at just 10.57%.

NordVPN also found that mass remote working in the UK had contributed towards an increase in the use of both desktops (43%) and mobile apps (20%). Desktop use in Austria has grown the most, soaring by as much as 161.15%. Even though mobile app use in the Netherlands has climbed steeply by 44%, across the border in Belgium there has been a 17% decline in mobile apps usage. That said, desktop usage has flourished by 97%.

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