You may have heard of VPNs within a work from home or remote work context. As we’ll learn below, they’re a key element of good cyber security. However, they can do a little more than protect you from malware. But before we go into the reasons why you need one, let’s establish the basics.
What is a VPN?
A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it allows a user to create a secure and private connection to a private network – such as your company’s office network. It will mask your IP keeping your data and web activity private and safe from any third party making it a must for basic internet security.
How does it work?
Think of a VPN as creating your very own tunnel between your device and the rest of the web. Your location and your IP address will remain hidden as your traffic goes to the VPN server before interacting with everything beyond; only your VPN will see this traffic.
Situations where you’ll want to use a VPN
In theory, if you’re serious about privacy then you may want to use a VPN all the time. That may be unnecessary though. Sticking to using a VPN in the following situations should be all you need.
When using public WiFi
Probably the most important use because any Wi-Fi that can be easily connected to without a password in locations such as a coffee shop or an airport isn’t secure. In these public locations particularly, a cybercriminal could simply create a network called “Free Airport Wi-Fi” and watch as people log in and share their activity with them, but with a VPN, these actions are thwarted.
Prevent being tracked by your ISP
Your internet provider is actually tracking everything you see and do online with Irish ISPs storing this information for a year, sometimes longer. Also, depending on other factors like the country you’re in and terms and conditions, your history can be sold on to third parties, from marketing companies to the government. Thankfully A VPN will ensure all your browsing history is invisible to any entity that attempts to view your activity.
When you don’t want web access to change with your location
When you travel abroad, everything from Google to your favourite websites will often change their content accordingly – from different languages to tailoring what products and services your region can access. With the remote and mobile nature of today’s teams, it pays to be able to mask your location and access the web as though you’re still at HQ.
Avoiding blocks and censorship on websites
Similarly, when you change country, you may find content is censored by the new country’s government. For example, any work trip to China will be without Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even WhatsApp, but not if you have a VPN.
So, what is a VPN? Ultimately, it’s a way for you to browse the internet with zero stress and total safety. Therefore, it makes sense that now remote work is here to stay, a VPN should be top of the kit list.
Click here to talk to a BITS expert today about a variety of ways for improving your cyber security and your remote working capabilities. Alternatively, why not download our Ultimate Cybersecurity Guide for Remote Working to make sure you’ve got all of the essentials ticked off.