At this point, you’ve probably heard of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). They are advertised all over the internet (specifically on YouTube by countless content creators) promising to help keep you safe online. In this blog, I’ll dive into what a VPN is, when you should use one, and if it’s worth it for you to have one at all.
What does a VPN do?
A VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and an online server. All data passing between your device and the server is encrypted, which means all of your data is protected from prying eyes. The best part is that all of this happens automatically with no need to install additional software or apps because it masks your identity using a different IP address.
VPNs also allow you to access any website or app that would normally be blocked in certain countries by changing your IP address to match that of another country. For example, if you live in Germany but want to access US Netflix, all you have to do is connect to an American VPN server and watch any US-only content at will!
Advantages of using a VPN
If you are a regular internet user, chances are that at some point, someone has tried to get information about you. This is especially true if you’ve ever used public Wi-Fi hotspots or visited sites that share personal information such as passwords or credit card details. If someone gets hold of this information, they can use it to steal from you or cause damage to your reputation by posting fake reviews about your business or personal life online.
Here are some advantages of using a VPN to prevent this from happening:
Remain anonymous online
A VPN helps you stay anonymous while browsing the internet. It does so by masking your original IP address, replacing it with another one from their servers. This makes it impossible for anyone to track down your online activity or even see what sites you visit most often.
Protection from cybercrime/government snooping
While a VPN is not a substitute for an antivirus program, it does make it much harder for hackers to find out anything about you.
They also offer some protection from government surveillance: In some countries, governments have been known to block certain websites (like Facebook) or monitor communications (email). A VPN allows users to bypass these restrictions by routing their connections through servers located outside of their home country’s borders — allowing them access to blocked content and protecting their privacy in the process.
Safe browsing while using a public network
Public Wi-Fi networks at a coffee shop or fast food restaurant can be a great resource, but they can also be dangerous. The information you send over these networks is unencrypted and vulnerable to hackers.
Using a VPN encrypts your data so that hackers won’t be able to see what you’re doing online.
Do I need a VPN for my business?
The benefits of using a VPN for employees are pretty easy to see. With the right VPN, you can ensure that your employees are always connected to your corporate network, even when they’re on the road or working from home.
The VPN should also allow you to determine who has access to your network and its resources, like internal databases and servers. For example, you will want to limit who can log into the system and which resources they have access to—you don’t want all employees having access to every part of your infrastructure!
Should I use a VPN at home too?
Using A VPN at home isn’t totally necessary, as you are already connected to your private password-protected Wi-Fi network. Make sure you are using either WPA2-Personal or the newest encryption standard WPA3-Personal (introduced in 2018) if your router supports it.
The main reasons someone would want to use a VPN at home are:
1. You want to protect your privacy by hiding your activity from your ISP and other prying eyes.
2. You want to access content that is restricted by geographic location or by the content provider (for example, if you’re traveling abroad).
A VPN provides a more secure, encrypted connection to the Internet. This makes your online activity invisible to just about everyone. That includes both people on your network and hackers sniffing traffic on public networks. If you use a public network frequently, such as at a coffee shop or on the go, it could also mean you’ve been affected by man-in-the-middle attacks that have compromised your personal information. It’s for this reason that we highly recommend using a VPN if you travel or work with public Wi-Fi often.
Need help setting up a VPN for your business?
If you have employees that are regularly working remotely, you should have a VPN so they are able to access the company network from home. If you aren’t sure how to go about setting this up, we can take care of that! Click below to learn about our Complete IT™ package for businesses.