What Is a Virtual Private Network?

Virtual Private Network (VPNs) ensure online anonymity and privacy. This is achieved by creating a private network within a public internet connection.

Whenever you use a VPN, it masks your Internet Protocol (IP) address, making your online activities virtually untraceable. What matters is the fact that VPN services create highly secure and encrypted connections that deliver unparallel privacy.

Do You Need a VPN?

Whenever you surf the web or use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, you expose your browsing habits and sensitive private information. When you do the same through a VPN, all this information is encrypted. This makes VPNs a must for anyone concerned with their online privacy and security.

Suppose you’re checking important work emails while queuing at your local coffee shop or checking your bank balance while waiting to board a plane. In that case, all this sensitive information can potentially be accessed by bad actors.

If you’re using a private Wi-Fi network that requires a password, you don’t have to worry (at least not too much). But suppose you automatically log into a public Wi-Fi hotspot. In that case, any information transmitted during a session is vulnerable to eavesdropping, even by a stranger who is two tables down (and using the same network).

In the current threat landscape, everyone is a target. The anonymity and encryption provided by VPN applications keep you safe. It’s also one of the ways of reducing the risk of identity theft. Furthermore, it’ll help block sites from collecting your data for marketing activities.

How Does It Work?

VPNs deploy a data tunnel between an exit node in another location and your local network. This means that you can appear to be browsing from thousands of miles away, even on another continent.

VPN services leverage encryption protocols to scramble data before sending it through a Wi-Fi network. As encrypted data is unreadable, no one else on the network can spy on your online activity (if they manage to intercept it).

Furthermore, your internet service provider won’t have access to your entire browsing history. This is because all web activity is directly associated with the VPN server’s IP address and not yours.

Leading VPN service providers boast servers in data centres spread across the planet. As search histories are directly tied to these locations’ IP address, VPNs protect you from tech giants like Google, who continuously collect data on everyone.

VPNs hide the following information that puts your privacy at risk:

  • Activity on mobile devices
  • Current location for streaming (which is helpful when travelling outside the country)
  • IP address and location
  • Personal browsing history
  • Web activity to ensure internet freedom

While VPNs are popular in countries plagued by authoritative regimes, it’s just as important in the free world. This is because data drives everything today, and this information demands protection while it’s in motion.

In a post-pandemic world where remote working has become the norm, it’s also essential to connect to enterprise infrastructure via VPNs. This approach helps mitigate risk in the current threat landscape.

What Should You Look for in a VPN Provider?

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to VPN providers. However, you should choose one based on your specific needs. However, the provider you select should have a reputation for robust security, speed, and consistent uptime.

If you’re a frequent traveller, you’d require a VPN that allows you to stream. If the service comes with set data limits, it’s probably not the right option for you. The best option usually provides full, unmetered bandwidth without data limits.

If the servers’ location is important, check if the provider has an active presence at that location with excellent bandwidth.

While costs are an important factor, don’t be fooled by free VPN advertisements. They don’t offer robust security protocols and fall short when it comes to uptime, speed, and support. Some are even known to sell your data to marketers, negating the whole point of using a VPN service.

If you’re thinking of securing your enterprise infrastructure by implementing VPN protocols, we can help. Schedule a commitment-free consultation.