A VPN is a virtual private network that gives users a secure, encrypted connection to the internet. With more and more companies taking their businesses virtual to stay afloat, a VPN is absolutely essential for ensuring your data is safe and secure when your employees are working remotely. A secure internet connection is paramount, especially in light of increasing cyber threats and a changing landscape for businesses and remote operations.
When you use public Wi-Fi, your computer is left wide open to attacks from hackers and cyber criminals. These criminals often target public spaces such as cafés, hotels, airports and train stations.
But even when you’re using your personal home network, your actions aren’t completely confidential. Most people don’t realize that, due to a law passed in 2017, service providers can legally collect and sell your data when you use one of these networks. That means internet providers can collect, use, and sell information about your demographics, online habits, and more.
In addition to already frequent online attacks, unfortunately, many cyber criminals are taking advantage of the upheaval stemming from COVID-19 to target victims. With more and more companies moving to remote operations, systems that aren’t updated with high-quality security features are becoming bogged down and breached by hackers. Many businesses have never experimented with remote work and its technology before, or at least not to the extent that is currently necessary, so this leaves them very vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches.
How a VPN Protects You
A VPN provides security and protects your privacy by encrypting data so that anything you send over an internet connection is inaccessible to anyone who may attempt to intercept it while it’s en route. This protects your browser history, financial information, messages, or any other data you may need to send. Here are a few specific ways a VPN boosts your security:
As stated, a VPN encrypts and protects your data from unauthorized users. But it also protects your data from the internet service providers that could otherwise legally use and sell information they gather from your internet activity. A VPN removes your transactions from the view of all except the end recipients.
IP Address Flexibility
Privacy is increased with a VPN because the user’s initial IP address is replaced with one from the VPN provider. As a subscriber, you can obtain an IP address from any gateway city the VPN service provides. For example, you may live in California, but when you use a virtual private network, you can appear to be in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, or any number of gateway cities. This not only boosts security by masking your real location, but it can also be useful for bypassing filters and accessing blocked websites.
Secure Remote Access and File Sharing
When employees access data from a company’s on-site server, the information doesn’t have to leave the company’s own closed system, which is usually maintained with strong security measures. But when employees need to access data remotely, it is exposed to the internet as it is transferred, which greatly reduces security, leaving it open to threats and attacks along the way. A VPN allows workers to access data while maintaining the security of a closed system.
Even if employees can store all necessary data on their personal devices without a need to remotely access it, collaboration is essential for nearly any business, and sending files back and forth leaves them vulnerable just the same. Luckily, VPNs secure this part of the process too, protecting all your communications and completely protecting your shared files in transit.
How to Get a Secure VPN
When you’re ready to set up a VPN for your company, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Although there are free VPN services available online, these have been known to sell your data or allow other users to divert information, completely undermining the security benefits you’re looking for in the first place. Free VPN services can also slow your internet speeds when they become bottlenecked with users and cause a host of other problems. You should use a trusted VPN provider with a good reputation and strict security policies.
If you’re still not feeling confident in your ability to scout out a good provider, a Managed Service Provider can help you get set up with reputable VPN services as well as the rest of the technological tools you need to help your business thrive, whether remotely or in your office. If you’re serious about keeping your company data secure, check out NetFusion Design’s managed IT services for help navigating your security needs.