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Understanding VPNs

By Akintunde-Rotimi Olawale | 14th June 2019 11:14:29

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which come in both software and hardware variants, can benefit your business in many important ways. This article explains what VPNs are, how they work, and why you might need one.

Quick Explanation of What VPN's are

The Virtual Private Network technology was developed to allow remote users and branch offices to access corporate applications and resources. To ensure security, the private network connection is established using an encrypted layered tunneling protocol and VPN users use authentication methods, including passwords or certificates, to gain access to the VPN. In other applications, Internet users may secure their transactions with a VPN, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship, or to connect to proxy servers to protect personal identity and location to stay anonymous on the Internet. However, some websites block access to known VPN technology to prevent the circumvention of their geo-restrictions, and many VPN providers have been developing strategies to get around these roadblocks.

VPN's as Applicable To Businesses

Be it for security, remote access to private company files and documents, organisations have always needed VPN's. The major reasons for this need is privacy as businesses, whether small, medium or large have sensitive information which needs some security. And today, the demand for the need for VPN's amongst even small businesses is growing. They also require to be able to access their private software systems via encrypted VPN's for more security. Just like purchasing any product, you need to determine the need for it. So let's talk about how to know whether your business needs a VPN.

  • Added Security To Existing Connection

About 40% of cyber attacks are directed towards small business. Hence the security of all things IT-based in your business must be secured and protected. If you have a solid IT Team, then they must install state of the art firewalls, end-to-end encryption on information as well as increased security policies on data. With a VPN, it basically adds an extra layer of protection to guarantee a private connection.

  • Using Public Connections is Not Safe

As a functioning business/organisation, it is highly reckless to use public internet especially when dealing with sensitive and private company information. This is because public connections such as public wifi are not safe as they do not contain encryption of any kind. For example, you are accessing some company files on your company's cloud account in a public area using a public connection. If the connection gets hacked or intercepted, the attacker can easily be able to download or even delete all company files with a simple click. This is why sensitive information such as private files, online banking and other related activities must never be done in public areas.

  • Be Able To Access Company Information Remotely

As mentioned in the point above, you should never access private information or even perform sensitive online activities such as online banking on public connections. With a VPN, you will be able to securely connect to the internet.

  • Cost-Effective

Obtaining a VPN is relatively cost effective as many ISP's(Internet Service Providers) offer VPN services. All you'll have to do is sign up for the plan and then your business can benefit from all VPN services.


Limitations of VPN's

  • It is no common knowledge that web services like Amazon, Facebook and Google can track your browsing behaviour and internet usage even when you after existing their websites. 
  • Also a VPN can only do so much to keep your internet usage and privacy annonymous. For total and complete online annonymity, you'll need a browser such as Tor.
  • As each country has different internet laws service providers must adhere to, you must also verify and read through the privacy policy written on the VPN company's website.
  • Not all VPN's are trustworthy. Some of them abide by the law, while others don't as they hide data and information under the hood.

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