It is likely that you have heard of a virtual private network, at least in passing, before. As the pandemic continues, the growing threat of cyber-attacks has further popularized the use of VPNs the world over for ensuring cybersecurity of businesses and individuals.
A VPN is basically a tool that is used to ensure cybersecurity of individuals and businesses. Understanding what a VPN connection can do, why you should install one, and the benefits it provides can make a big difference in keeping individuals and businesses safe. Here’s a VPN guide to help you start your journey to better online security.
What’s a VPN & why use one?
Anyone with basic knowledge of cybersecurity knows that when you go online using any internet connection, you will be watched. All of the activity you do will be tracked, monitored, and recorded by many groups such as advertisers or data collection agencies regardless of your server locations.
Once these groups gather your data, they can use that data in any manner they like, even selling it to more groups who want to know about your browsing history. Without the right protection, all the actions that you do online can be open for a data collector to see. In the absence of proper controls, VPN protocols and protection, this also means exposing your sensitive information to cyber threats.
This is where a VPN comes into play. Virtual private networks provide their users with encryption and anonymity. They are also extremely critical to secure modern business networks, especially now that almost every business worldwide has a significant number of remote staff. With a VPN, your remote workers can log into your secure VPN network from anywhere, thereby increasing the overall cyber safety of your company. Also, do check out our remote working checklist for more information on how to keep your business safe with a remote workforce.
With a VPN, you are protected with encryption, no matter which website you use or the level of security that is on the website as your information will be encrypted. Even if an advertiser or website can tell you are on a particular site, the data is scrambled so they can’t tell much about what you’re browsing and your general browsing behavior.
Anonymity is also possible for those who use a VPN. VPNs will prevent websites and other eyes from tracking your online activity back to you. It may see the activity, but it has no idea who is doing it.
What is VPN Tunneling?
To understand tunneling a bit more, think about some of the physical tunnels you have been through – ones that help you get from one place to another. Similarly, there are digital tunnels that play pretty much the same role.
When you utilize a VPN, the tool is able to create a secret passage, or tunnel, between the device you use and the websites you visit. This tunnel will help to encrypt the activity you use as well so that only you and the website you are on can see your activities.
What is IP Masking?
Another benefit that comes with a VPN is a tool known as IP Masking. When you use your VPN to help you connect to the internet, the VPN will start to create an encrypted tunnel that goes between the website and yourself.
Even when this happens, your IP address can be seen through the website and can sometimes be visible to outsiders, depending on how the website is used. This basically defeats the purpose of the VPN.
So, how do you make sure that all of your activity is not seen and then tracked back to you?
Typically, all the activity that you do online is traced back to you thanks to your IP address. If you use a good VPN, your real IP address will be hidden. The VPN is able to replace it with one of its own, one that will often change each time you get online.
With a fake IP address, your activity will be hidden when you are done with your session and no one will be able to keep track of what you are doing online.
Do I Need a VPN?
If you would like to hide your personal and private information online, then a VPN is a good option. There is a misconception out there that those who use a VPN only do it because they want to do something illegal when they are online.
This is not the case. Anyone can use a VPN to help protect their data. If you are tired of advertisers having your information and knowing everything about you and your browsing history, then using a VPN is a good option for you.
There are a lot of benefits to choosing a VPN including:
- Hiding your private information.
- Preventing data-throttling to avoid data caps.
- Avoiding bandwidth-throttling.
- Accessing services that are blocked by regions, such as some shows on Netflix.
- Avoiding any censorship when traveling abroad.
- Accessing regional sports coverage that may not be available in your location.
- Making it harder for others to track you.
- Preventing your information from getting into the wrong hands.
It doesn’t matter who you are, having a VPN can be a good option to keep your information safe. Think of all the advertisements and spam that have blocked your interest searches because they are able to use your private information. And you never know just how that data about you is being used.
Even if you plan to just browse online and check your social media accounts, having a VPN can be a smart choice for most people. The added protection will ensure that the information that you give off while online is not being given to the wrong people who may misuse it.