What is a VPN and Do I Need One?

What is a VPN?

When you leave your home/get out of the car, you lock the doors, right?  Similarly, protecting your information online is just as essential. We should protect our personal data like we protect our valuables. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) redirects your web traffic through a private server. This means your computer appears to have the IP address (internet version of a “mailing address’) of the private network/server that hosts your VPN. Widely used for maintaining anonymity online and protecting sensitive information, VPN’s were originally developed for remote access of corporate applications.

Image by Stefan Coders from Pixabay

Should I Get a VPN?

If your business handles sensitive information like medical data or trade secrets, you will need a VPN to protect you and your network. Most importantly, it protects your customer’s privacy. Do you have specific software that you can only access via your Business Wi-Fi? A VPN can help you connect from your home device. Above all, this feature is invaluable in a pandemic. In a world where information is consistently sold to the highest bidder in the name of market research, VPNs protect information from mass surveillance sweeps and data mining. However, they can impact the speed of your internet, and some websites/services block VPNs. (looking at you Netflix.)

VPN Recommendations

VPN: An Uruk-hai making his way downtown to blow up helm's deep

New Line Cinema (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002)

As Helm’s Deep taught us, any wall can be breached. Will a VPN protect you from a targeted attack by itself? No—but it can make you faceless in a crowd. While it’s still easy to single out an individual, will anyone really pay attention to you that long? The services that have had staying power are the corporate-geared VPN’s like SonicWALL, Cisco, Barracuda, or Aruba.  For example, as the crowd grows bigger, it becomes easier to get lost in. For personal use, there are many solid, reputable options such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark.

However, be aware that some businesses (*cough*Netflix*cough*) are trying to kill VPN use on their sites, so you may have to frequently switch it off. To be realistic, after a few disconnects and/or connection issues you will probably stop using it.  You will have to decide for yourself how important your personal data is and act accordingly.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, VPN’s are more important than ever. We are all stuck working from home, and unless your employees have firewall & antivirus installed and frequently updated on their home computers (HAHAHAHAHAHA), you’ll need a VPN with remote access. Need some help configuring and installing your VPN? Drop us a line and we will get you taken care of—our Technicians specialize in setting up & servicing VPNs for Small Businesses in the DFW area.

Finally, check out our other articles about Protecting Your Data:

Creepy Facebook patent applications

Skimmers & Shimmers at the ATM, Gas Stations, and Stores

Web Security: Antivirus