You have probably heard of Virtual Private Networks, commonly abbreviated as VPN(s). There is a lot of conversation about how they help protect your browsing data from being viewed or how using one can make it appear that you are located in another country.
So what is a VPN and how do they work? Should I be using one and, if so, how do I choose the proper one?
In the simplest of terms, a VPN is a method of connecting an endpoint (your computer) to a server to form a local network. The VPN provider will either supply details to configure a connection or offer a preconfigured software package that is installed. Once properly configured, you will have the ability to connect to the remote sever. After you are connected, the server will authenticate user details and all packet traffic is then routed through the VPN’s “tunnel”.
Why should someone use a VPN?
VPN networks create a tunnel that transports your local traffic to the remote server. This tunnel of encrypted traffic is not accessible to users on the same local network. This is most important when connected to public networks. However, it is also an extra layer of protection even in corporate networks. Browsing the web through a VPN will also offer anonymity as most internet service providers will log traffic.
Why is choosing the right VPN provider important?
Contrary to popular belief not all VPN providers offer an encrypted connection. This is why choosing the best VPN provider for your business is important. Choose one that uses 256 bit AES encryption and does not log user connection information and history. Choosing a provider that has multiple servers will offer a larger area to spread user load, meaning that you are less likely to connect to a slow server. Lastly, research customer reviews and the length of time the company has been in business.
Selecting and using a quality VPN will help to protect your browsing history, prevent man in the middle attacks, and help ensure that no one on your local network can access your computer’s traffic.
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