Are you new to the world of the VPN? Perhaps you’ve seen the term on your Smartphone settings and wonder what it’s all about? Or maybe you need to bone up on IT security at your business. Whichever direction you’re coming from, this is the place to start as we’re going to look at what a VPN is, some of the technology involved and why it might be of use to you. Read on and we’ll offer you, the VPN Newbie, a great introduction into this particular technology world.
If it’s technology, the first step in understanding it is to get to grips with the TLAs (that’s three letter acronyms to mere mortals). VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Literally it’s a network that is not physical like a conventional one, it is a logical one created with clever software that works over public networks such as the internet. The software provides you with the same privacy that you would get if you were using a private network.
The internet has opened up an infinite number of possibilities to anyone with a desktop, laptop or even a smartphone. It’s possible to find anything you want when you want it. The only problem is that it is also very easy to sniff out what’s happening on the WWW so your personal privacy is seriously compromised.
So, a VPN offers you anonymity. You are guaranteed a number of things. Choose the right VPN and you’ll not need to worry about someone keeping a close eye on what you’re doing and where you’re going online. You may not know, but when you type in a search phrase, someone (hey Google you know who we mean) records what’s been searched for and by whom and where you are.
So, bring on your VPN. A VPN can hide all of your browse data so you can search away to your hearts content, knowing that you’re not being followed. When you use a VPN service the service provider becomes a proxy. A bit like a proxy vote – the server handles all of identification on your behalf so nobody actually knows it’s you doing the asking. If you’re REALLY interested in more detail, it’s all about IP addresses and we’ll return to this topic in a later article so don’t forget to check back.
If you are a fan of travelling, accessing stuff on the internet can be a bit of a problem. You may well find access to your favorite website is blocked if you are overseas. Famously, PayPal won’t let you access your account from an overseas location – and you want to free up some readies to buy your plane ticket home? Nice!
In this world of digital rights and international internet access you often find that when you try to watch or listen to content on the internet, rather than your favorite clip or tune you get a blocked screen saying you’re not allowed to view the content in your country. You might also find that certain websites are not available, based on your location.
A VPN service is an excellent tool for travelers or internet users who want to access content they are prohibited from viewing for geographical reasons.
So, armed with your VPN service you get given the same IP address (think of it as a zip code) as your VPN service provider. This way you hide your true IP address (sneaky eh?) so the content provider or website you are trying to access doesn’t know your true location. Result – you get uninterrupted access to all the content and sites you want.
In business there are a range of other benefits up for grabs when you use a VPN. Most businesses keep much of their confidential documents, reports, and financial data on servers and make their data available to staff using an intranet – a network that is only available to employees in the office. What happens though when staff need to travel and still need access to that confidential data? Yep – you guessed it – cue the VPN.
Run a VPN server from your own network and your staff can login from almost any internet connection, get given an IP address for your network and get access to all the data they need. You can avoid documents falling into the wrong hands because a VPN secures your data by hiding it inside tunnels – more of that in a later article as well – so staff can travel, access data and update records without fear of data being compromised.
So now you understand the rudiments of VPN technology and the benefits it can provide you with. Think keeping your data safe, keeping your activity private and keeping your location hidden and you’ve got it. So if it’s time to VPN at the next level come back and read more of our informative articles on this powerful technology.