VPN stands for virtual private network. In essence, they help you ‘tunnel’ to another country to mask where your internet activity is stemming from. On the surface this might sound a bit dodgy; it’s a means of digitally ‘throwing your voice’, so to speak – surely that might be used for nefarious means.
You might even wonder whether such a technique is even legal? Well, VPNs are entirely legal and whilst a small subset of society might use them for less savoury means, they’re actually an incredibly useful tool for both personal and professional use. The team here at Nutbourne, a managed service provider in London, wanted to explain why.
How Does A VPN Work?
These private networks work by establishing a secure internet connection through a virtual ‘tunnel’. Your IP address is therefore disguised and your location cannot be ascertained. Another way of thinking of it is like it acts as a kind of protective middle man. Without a VPN, the connection you establish between your server and the internet is prone to being hacked by cybercriminals or enables your data to be sold onto companies.
For many people, when they think it might be remotely sensitive, they settle on the fact that their chosen browser will have an incognito mode. This doesn’t protect you, however, and whether you utilise private browsing or not makes as next to no difference in terms of protecting you from those aforementioned threats. The thing is, though, you’re more than likely vulnerable to cyber thieves just by having your smartphone’s Wi-Fi enabled constantly. VPNs remove this threat through its encryption and disguise.
You might be reading this and thinking “I don’t do anything dodgy or that needs hiding, or that warrants using a VPN” to which we’d argue, it’s still worth looking at getting one, regardless. Increasingly, the world’s major currency is becoming data and whether it’s criminals, big corporations or national governments, data is a valuable commodity that they want to get their hands on. If you want to stay secure from – what some people would call the ultimate invasion of privacy – then VPNs can help you, from online banking through to storing personal information, these networks add another much-wanted, much-needed layer of security.
How Can Businesses Benefit From A VPN?
VPNs ensure that employees can work both remotely whilst remaining secure. Wherever they might happen to be, your employees can access your workplace network without any fear of compromising their own or any company information. We’ve discovered this past year that remote working isn’t just a viable option for many companies, it’s sometimes necessary. You don’t want sensitive company information to ever be stolen or accessed when it shouldn’t be; VPN services help stop this from ever becoming a reality.
Another benefit is levels of access control. VPN services offer another layer of access controls that can help establish appropriate access levels and permissions across a network. VPNs aren’t the only thing you should be relying on when it comes to properly protecting your office network and ensuring its set up correctly; that said, they’re most definitely a useful tool in the toolkit. Implementing routing software in order to provide secure network access can be an expensive outlay – particularly for smaller firms and SMEs. Using a VPN gets around this issue. They’re flexible and ideally suited to use by smaller firms.
Are There Any Disadvantages To Using A VPN?
VPNs, though incredibly useful, aren’t perfect. They can slow down internet connections, the strength of encryption can vary from VPN provider to provider and connections have been known to sometimes break temporarily. Without a kill switch, this means that IP addresses can suddenly be leaked.
What’s more, for the premium VPN services that you know you can rely upon, set up can sometimes be complex. To counter this, we’d suggest utilising an IT company or managed service provider such as ours to both recommend and subsequently take you through the set-up and consequent running of any VPN software.
VPN services can be a good workaround if you’re running a company on a particularly tight budget, but where you still want to ensure sensitive information is protected. It’s important you search around and find the VPN service that’s right for your business; if you’re unsure as to who that might be, that’s where we can help!
If you’d like to find out more about our work as a managed service provider in London, get in touch! Contact Nutbourne today on +44 (0) 203 137 7273. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our quick and easy online enquiry forms on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!