There has been a lot of talk lately about internet security. You may have heard a lot of data and information security jargon, coupled with some strange-sounding abbreviations. If you have been paying any attention to the topic at all, you must have also heard one of those terms being spoken of quite often – VPN.
What is a VPN? A VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It is the most secure (well, how secure the connection really is depends a lot on your choice of a VPN service provider) way to connect your computer or device to another computer or device. The VPN network is often compared to a tunnel: a “tunnel” is established through the internet to your VPN service provider, so that your online activities cannot be easily observed by others. It other words, a VPN is a private network that uses a public network, typically the internet, in order to connect remote sites and users.
But why would you need a VPN connection? In short: to protect your privacy, and to do many other cool and useful things! A VPN allows you to protect your data from the prying eyes while you are online. It allows you to get an IP address in another country. Your online activities are going to appear like they are originating from the location where your VPN server is situated, not from where you are really located. Therefore, a VPN connection makes it possible to circumvent censorship and keep you anonymous on the internet.
People are also using Virtual Private Networks for less dramatic purposes. For example, a foreign IP address can be used to unlock content that is normally not available in your country. Using a VPN network ensures that all your communications are kept safe and secure when using public Wi-Fi networks. Browse freely, untracked and unrestricted, and keep your private communications private – even when traveling or in public places!
Businesses are using Virtual Private Networks to secure their business communications, especially when employing remote workers. For example, when a worker is on a business trip or working from home, he is nonetheless able to connect to the headquarter’s network and work on the computer in the same manner like when he is physically present inside the office. He is going to be able to access all network resources. All data that is traveling through that network is encrypted. Businesses used to lease dedicated lines for the same purpose, but Virtual Private Networks are much cheaper and more scalable.