Beginner’s Guide to Virtual Private Networks


Internet security is a hot topic nowadays with news of hacking, breaches, and compromised data on the rise. VPN is one of the commonly spoken terms and jargon linked to information security. What exactly does this abbreviation mean and its role in internet use?

VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is deemed the most secure means of connecting one computer to another. It's basically a private network that utilizes a public network, such as the internet, to be able to connect remote users and sites. A VPN serves as an encrypted tunnel that effectively masks your online activities, credentials and sensitive information from cybercriminals. This tunnel is established through the web to your VPN service provider.

Is it necessary to have a VPN connection? Definitely. It's for the protection of one's privacy, and for many other things that can come quite handy. A VPN prevents your data from being stolen and keeps it hidden from prying eyes. All communications are secured, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks or during travel. It grants internet users the freedom to privately browse what they want and the peace of mind that they're not being tracked nor restricted in any way.

You can make use of VPNs to get an IP address from another country, whereas your online activities will seem to originate from the VPN server's location rather than where you're actually located. A VPN connection can circumvent censorship and allows you to remain anonymous on the internet. Some people use a foreign IP address in order to unlock content that may not be available in their country.

Businesses have found Virtual Private Networks useful in securing their business communications, more so when it comes to employing remote workers. For instance, when an employee is working from home or away on a business trip, he can simply connect to the company's headquarters and work on the computer as if he's physically present in the office. He gains access to all network resources and all data travelling through it will be encrypted. Dedicated lines were used by many businesses in the past to serve the same purpose, but scalable VPNs proved to be the cheaper yet smarter option.