A virtual private network (VPN) is an important privacy and security tool that confers a number of advantages to those who use it. A VPN will improve your privacy by obscuring your IP address and allow you to access the internet through a remote server located in another country.
Even though VPNs are primarily used by businesses as these tools allow employees to connect to sensitive networks in a secure manner, they also ideal for individuals who are just looking for a more secure way to browse the internet.
To understand the advantages of using a VPN, it is helpful to know how they work. When you type a website’s name into an address bar of your browser, it then uses a domain name server (DNS) to look up the associated IP address of the website. This is just like looking up a name in a phonebook to get the phone number. Your web browser then “dials” the IP address and connects you to the website.
With a VPN, your device will first connect to a VPN server. This server then performs the DNS lookup and connects to the website you want to access. The website only sees the address of that VPN server, meaning that your actual IP stays hidden. There are plenty of online tools that can show your IP address in real time – nordvpn.com/what-is-my-ip/. At the same time, the VPN software encrypts the data you exchange with the VPN server, so no hacker will be able to intercept or steal it.
A VPN is a lot cheaper than you may think. A good VPN is almost certainly going to be cheaper than your daily commuting to work or a large cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
If you are someone who regularly uses public Wi-Fi networks for work or leisure, the price of a VPN is more than worth it. As security of such networks is pretty much non-existing, a VPN will ensure that your sensitive personal or business data stays safe and private even when you connect to unsecured public WiFi.
Plus, many VPN service providers allow you to try their services for free, so once you find a VPN that suits your needs, take advantage of their free trial. This will help you avoid unnecessary expenses if you are not 100% sure about the quality of the VPN service.
Many businesses are understandably apprehensive about allowing their employees to remotely connect to their internal networks. All it takes is one employee with a virus or self-propagating malware to connect to a network and inadvertently infect the whole system. With a VPN in place, your employees are much less likely to infect their devices with malicious software. Strong encryption also means that you don’t have to worry about your confidential data being intercepted by malicious actors.
Remote desktop protocol (RDP) is a way of establishing a remote connection with a desktop computer. This allows you to connect to a specific computer at your workplace, and to use it as if you were sitting in front of the machine right now. Many businesses today make use of RDP or similar tools to help their employees to access corporate networks remotely. RDP is designed to make these connections and exchanges of data as secure as possible but adding a VPN into the mix will bolster the resilience of your network even further.
There are numerous public Wi-Fi hotspots around today. Many of us can still remember the times when public Wi-Fi access was a rarity. Today, virtually every retail complex, coffee shop, and other hospitality business offer Wi-Fi access to its clients. While these Wi-Fi hotspots are undeniably convenient, they are very insecure.
It is trivially easy to intercept communications sent over a public Wi-Fi network for anyone who knows how to do it; there are even tools that help automate the process. Once a hacker manages to intercept a wireless connection, they can snoop on users’ online activities, steal login credentials or banking details, and even trick them into downloading malicious software.
Using a VPN is a simple and cost-effective way of improving your online security and privacy. Therefore, whether you want to protect your browsing activities or secure your company’s network, wait no more and make use of virtual private networks.