Should I get a Private IP Address for my Small Businesses?

Whether you just started out your small business or have been around for a while, there are a lot of different things to consider. You’ll have to create a balance between keeping your expenses low, whilst maximizing your profit margins. However, this isn’t the only important thing you have to consider when running your business.

Your online safety, networking details, hosting, and IP address are things that can’t be ignored. Especially if data privacy is important to you and/or your business clients.

Continue reading if you want to know more about private IP addresses and if you need one.

What Is an IP Address?

We have to start with the basics: what is an IP address? An IP address is a unique numerical label assigned to any device that can connect to the internet. It can be compared to a postal address – a unique, globally recognized address that can be accessed from the world wide web.  It basically allows devices to communicate with each other. Without an IP address, it would be impossible to send and receive information between different devices.

There are two primary types of IP addresses: static IP addresses and dynamic IP addresses

The “static” in a static IP address means that the information in the IP address cannot change. It is assigned to a device and will remain the same. Static IP addresses are often given to frequently used devices such as a server. On the other hand, dynamic IP addresses are assigned randomly to devices that connect to a network. This is a type of address that changes periodically. 

Both static and dynamic IP addresses are public IP addresses. This means that any device that connects to the internet can find these devices and communicate with them.

Now you might wonder what happens if you don’t want your devices to be accessed by external devices? Well, the answer is simple: you will need a private IP address.

What Is a Private IP Address?

private IP address, also referred to as a local IP address, is assigned to devices in a private network. This means that only the devices that are connected to this private network can find and communicate with each other. This way, a private IP address is protected from external access.

What’s the difference between a private IP address and a public IP address?

The difference between a private IP address and a public IP address is that public addresses have to be unique in order for devices to communicate with each other.

On the contrary, private IP addresses don’t have to be unique. The reason for this is that organizations that distribute IP addresses to the world reserve a limited pool of addresses for private networks. This means that any device can use the same private IP address, as long as they aren’t connected to the same network.

Fun fact: home routers often have a local, private address as a default. This is usually the same number for other models from the same manufacturer. When your computer is connected to your router, Network Address Translation (NAT) is used to temporarily change your private IP address into a public IP address. When the information is sent back to your computer, NAT will reverse the change and your IP address is changed back to a private address. NAT makes it possible for your computer to connect with the internet. If you want to hide a public IP address and browse the internet more anonymously, you could use a proxy server or virtual private network (VPN).

Advantages and disadvantages of private IP addresses

Advantage 1: Protection, privacy & security

The biggest advantage of having a private IP address is that you will have greater data protection, privacy, and security. Devices outside of your private network won’t be able to communicate with the devices inside the private network. This makes it possible to fully protect sensitive data from external devices. With a public IP address, you will have to take measures to keep potential threats away.

Advantage 2: Reliability

Private IP networks can’t be accessed by other networks. This makes them less vulnerable to external malfunctions or connectivity loss. Whenever a problem occurs, it’s easier to solve it.

Disadvantage 1:  Knowledge

There are also disadvantages when it comes to private IP addresses. One of the biggest disadvantages is that you will need an IT specialist to do the configuration, setting up the network, and regular maintenance. This brings us to disadvantage 2.

Disadvantage 2: Cost

Hiring an IT specialist and maintaining a private network can be pricey and you as a company will be responsible for these costs.

Disadvantage 3: Accessibility

Furthermore, devices in the private network won’t be able to access external websites. To do this, you will need to create another open network or VPN.

So, should you get a private IP address for your small business?

It all depends on how important privacy, security, and protection are to your business and how much work you want to put into it. A private IP address is the best choice if you want to fully protect your online business and data. It will allow you to protect yourself from external threats. However, it does require a bit more time and budget to properly set it up. If you don’t mind this, then getting a private IP address is the way to go. 

With cybercrime on the rise it’s important to protect our businesses

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