Ever since your spouse started working from home, you’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the “VPN.” You’ve heard it enough that you’re beginning to wonder– what does VPN even mean? Should you be implementing the use of a VPN during your day-to-day computer time?
For a full rundown of the benefits of a secure VPN, read on. It may be the best thing you do for your online privacy and security this year.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or, virtual private network, is the extension of a private network across a public network. When connecting a VPN, your activity takes place inside of an encrypted space, securing the data being passed between you and the destination of your data.
How does it work? First, a “tunnel” of encryption is created by authenticating the site you are accessing with a VPN server. That VPN server then encrypts all of the data you send and receive to and from that client. When the data you are sending arrives at the destination server, the “outer packet” of encryption is removed through a special decryption process, allowing you to use the web just like anyone else.
Common Reasons for VPN Use
If you’re new to the VPN world, you might question the benefits– especially if you need to pay out of pocket for the service. Whether you’re an avid gamer, a remote worker, or just a household that values protecting your sensitive information, a VPN is never a bad idea.
Gamers often use a VPN to enhance their experience without getting bogged down in advertising or nefarious activity online. Common benefits to gaming include:
- Protection of payment information for subscription-based games
- For features specifically designed to improve connection speed
- To bypass school and workplace blocks
- To avoid geo-restrictions
- To enhance server distribution
- To avoid marketing post gameplay
Just starting out in the gaming world and don’t know where to begin? A site like https://setapp.com/ can get you set up properly for online gaming.
Many remote workers are asked to sign on to their company’s VPN prior to starting the workday. This is most commonly required to connect a user to a company’s internal network. Without access to a company’s VPN, an employee cannot access internal applications or data.
Privacy and Security
The use of any VPN will add an additional layer of security, provide online anonymity, and provide protection of your data. It provides a “protected tunnel” for your information and keeps random users from hacking into information you may not want them accessing.
5 Benefits of a Secure VPN
Still skeptical about using a VPN? Check out these five benefits.
1. Avoid Data and Bandwidth Throttling
Anyone with administrative controls over your network (like an internet service provider) can slow your internet traffic. If your device’s traffic is encrypted, nobody else on your network will be able to see the content of your traffic and slow down your internet speed.
Do you have limited data? Using a VPN can help to eliminate those data caps, as your ISP won’t be able to see how you’re using the service. A VPN may reduce lag and other connection problems caused by these caps or ISP monitoring.
2. Shut Down Target Marketing and Tracking
Websites track your activity and analyze the data they collect from your movements. They can then sell your data, or use your information to target your specific interests and prior purchases through target marketing.
How secure is a VPN? A VPN prevents websites from saving this information. It can also keep government organizations from accessing your online activity, or tracking what you’re up to online.
3. Enhance Network Scaleability and Reduce Workplace Support Costs
Using a VPN service can keep a company from having to pay to build out a dedicated private network. With a VPN, you’re using the capabilities of networks already available. Remote workers can have a better experience and better internet service.
If your company is using a VPN, support can be outsourced to third-party service providers.
4. Avoid Bans, Blocked Content, and Geo-Restrictions
Schools and workplaces often block content that they deem unprofessional, inappropriate, or unnecessary. Additionally, certain governments have implemented strict censorship laws that keep users from viewing certain content while in their countries.
Additionally, services like Netflix or regional sports networks are considered to be “geo-blocked content.” If you are in a certain location, you may not be able to access the type of videos or television shows you’re used to, as you will be provided with location-specific content.
A VPN will make it look like your traffic is coming from a different location. This may allow you to access blocked sites or log in to social media networks and streaming services that are otherwise unavailable.
5. Protect Your Data
Don’t want others knowing your location, browsing history, or personal information? Use a VPN.
VPN security prevents web browsers and nefarious users from accessing your connection and taking advantage of your personal identification information, saved payment methods, and passwords. Using a VPN will keep your information the most secure, as most services can provide military-grade encryption.
Stay Safe Online
As our access to the internet expands, the access that companies and bad actors have to our personal information exponentially increases. It’s up to you to take steps to improve your online behavior, tighten up security, and know who has access to your private data. A secure VPN is just one opportunity to take control of this risk.
For more online safety tips, check out the rest of our blog. Even implementing small changes in web usage can keep your information safe.