A Guide to Private IP Addresses for Businesses

A Guide to Private IP Addresses for Businesses

When running your small business, there are lots of things you need to consider. You have to strike a balance between keeping your operational expenses low and maximizing your profit margins.

But, running a successful company goes way beyond these considerations. You have to think about networking details and IP address issues as well.

It might not be the most glamorous part of running your business. Nonetheless, you can’t afford to ignore it, especially if data privacy is an essential aspect of your day-to-day operations.

This guide delves deep into the world of private IP addresses to help you determine if they are right for your small business. Read on.

What Is an IP Address

Put, an IP address is a unique set of numbers given to all internet-connected devices. Think of it as a mailing address of sorts. It’s how devices find each other in the vast cyberspace.

It’s how devices send and receive information. There are two primary types of IP addresses: Static IP and Dynamic IP.

As the names suggest, a static IP means that the address information doesn’t change. It gets assigned to a single device and remains constant. Static IPs are for frequently accessed devices like servers.

Dynamic IP addresses, on the other hand, are assigned randomly to the devices connected to a network. They change periodically. A system here refers to a Local Area Network (LAN) or a Wide Area Network (WAN) like the internet.

Dynamic addresses need less maintenance and configuration than their static counterparts. They’re the default for devices connected in a network unless there’s a specific reason the device requires a static IP.

Both static and dynamic IP addresses are public IP addresses. The name “Public” refers to the fact that any device connected over the internet can find them and communicate with them.

But, what if you want to hide your devices from external access? That’s where private IP addresses come in.

What Is a Private IP Address

A private IP address or local IP is an address assigned to devices for use in a private network. Think of it as a cloak of invisibility that shields your devices from external access.

Only the devices on your private network can find and communicate with each other. Private IP addresses can also be static or public.

So what’s the difference between private IP and public IP addresses? Well, the answer to this has to do with the uniqueness of the numbers assigned to the networked devices.

Public IP addresses have to be unique. Private IPs, on the other hand, do not. Instead, they have a limited pool of addresses that are set aside expressly for use in the private IP network.

It means that other devices can use the same addresses as long as they aren’t linked to the same network. If they were, there would be a risk of an address conflict.

Private IP Addresses: The Pros and the Cons

Private IP addresses have their advantages and disadvantages. It depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting on.

Advantages of Using a Private IP Address

Perhaps the biggest reason for having a private IP for your small business has to do with data privacy and protection. Since devices outside your private IP network can’t communicate with those within, you eliminate the risk of third parties accessing sensitive data.

If your business handles data that could hurt the company if it fell into the wrong hands, this setup up offers the perfect solution to offset that risk. There’s also the added advantage of security.

A typical public network has all sorts of dangers lurking out there. When using public IP addresses, you have to worry about keeping potential threats like malware and viruses at bay.

With a private IP address, it is almost impossible for these threats to infiltrate your private network since it’s closed from external access. Remember the ILOVEYOU virus? Who wants to deal with that menace again, right?

Disadvantages

At the risk of stating the obvious, private IP networks require IT-experts to do the configurations and set up for the network interface. These non-standard configurations also mean that you’ll have to factor in its maintenance in your budget.

Nevertheless, your business can make use of automated IP address management to overcome this limitation. The closed nature of the private IP address space is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.

On the one hand, since external devices can’t communicate with those within the network, it guarantees data security and privacy. On the other, it also means that the computers on the network can’t access external vendor and supplier websites or even send emails for that matter. This is only possible through a second open network or a VPN.

The Verdict: Is a Private IP Address Right for Your Business

Choosing between public and private IP addresses for your small business boils down to convenience versus security. Which of the two is more important to you?

A private IP address keeps the external world at bay, which means that your business’ data will always stay secure from external threats. If that’s important to you and you don’t mind dealing with the added responsibilities that come with it, then getting private IP addresses is a no-brainer. This guide should help you make the right decision.

Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your business safe from outside threats and lock down your IP address.

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