Thanks to changes to net neutrality laws in the USA and the imprisonment of a Chinese citizen, VPN’s have been in the news a lot lately. If you’re not entirely sure what the term VPN means, it stands for Virtual Private Network, and according to some experts in the next 5 years, it’s about to become as essential to your cyber security standards as your firewall and anti-virus software.
When you consider how much information we transmit across the internet, in a single day, it’s an insane thought. Consider how much of your personal information you transmit across that same internet, daily, and it’s a scary thought. Enter the VPN.
The humble VPN has a lot of uses. For the home user, it’s valuable because it makes it difficult for anyone to ‘eavesdrop’ on what you’re doing. It prevents your ISP from tracking your browsing habits. It does this by connecting your computer to a private, controlled network, this network then connects you to the internet. The VPN encrypts your connection, and allows you to browse the internet through a small, secure network. As a result, your ISP, and anyone else attempting to watch what you’re doing online, only see an endless log of you connecting to your VPN server. Keeping what you’re doing on the net, private.
A VPN doesn’t just protect your browsing habits from your ISP. It also protects them from marketers. With a VPN pesky targeted advertisements will be a thing of the past, and so will the malicious trackers and malware that often accompanies them if you’re unfortunate enough to click through.
But VPN’s have other security benefits, which are making them more and more essential in larger networks too. Security issues like Wi-Fi spoofing are becoming more common. It’s become easy for smaller establishments offering public internet access to fall prone to jacking vulnerabilities and with telecommuting and virtual offices becoming more and more popular, the result is employees working in remote locations from all corners of the globe, often relying on unsecured public networks to connect to company servers remotely. Making it more vital for businesses to keep their activity private and secure.
There are some concerns about just how secure VPN’s really keep our data, and research released last year claimed that many VPN’s for android devices leaked personal data, despite their promises of security. Choosing a VPN, whatever your security needs, shouldn’t be something you take lightly. Consider exactly what you need, make sure you read user reviews, and if you can, get some expert advice. If you’re looking for a business VPN, do your homework and find a VPN that uses OpenVPN security protocols, and provides you with plenty of data capacity.
Businesses need beefier security than home users, and governments need to run the tightest ship of all. Making VPN’s a part of everyday cyber security standards for everyone is the best way to protect against the risks we expose ourselves to whenever we’re online.