Virtual Private Network VPN

Back to Basics – VPN

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a tool to create a private network on a public infrastructure.

When we access the internet from home, most people have a modem that connects to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), which then connects to the internet. Your ISP assigns IP addresses in blocks, so other users in your neighborhood will have a similar IP address. This IP address tells the websites you access your general location, and how you are accessing the site. There are times when you may not want your ISP to see the websites you are accessing, and there are times you don’t want the website you are accessing to know your location. For instance, we are working from home more, a person working in a financial department of a large company may not want the ISP to see the private corporate financial information.

Another example of when a VPN can be useful is working from public Wi-Fi. Many companies are working from home, but most restaurants and coffee shops have opened again. Maybe you have developed a routine of working from the local coffee shop for an hour to start your day. As we know, getting dressed and getting in the car is a good way to tell our brain it’s time for work. The problem is you are accessing company email and data on a very public network. Public Wi-Fi is fairly simple for criminals to access and steal email information or data moving across the network. A quality VPN will encrypt the data moving across the public network and make it much more difficult for criminals to access.

VPN’s are also used by those who travel often. If there are websites or streaming services only available in your home country, you can use a VPN to make your IP address look like it is coming from that country. When you’re on a business trip to Europe but getting blacked out from your cable company at home, a VPN can make it look like you are accessing the streaming service from the US.

There are many VPN’s on the market, consumer and professional grade. There are free VPN’s and those that come with a fee.  As with most things, you get what you pay for. A good VPN package will include software for desktop and mobile and will give you control over what country your signal will appear to be coming from. If you are looking for a professional VPN setup for your employees working from home, please contact us.

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Posted by Charles Wright