By Izzy Murphy, Reporter for TechRound
There are many advantages which come from using a VPN, such as being able to bypass geo-blockers, access information or data remotely and above all, increased security online. Consequently, the use of a VPN is becoming more and more popular with hybrid working meaning more people are accessing sensitive content from their own homes than ever before. Here are the key benefits of using a VPN and why they are growing in importance and popularity:
Increased Security and Accessibility for Companies Offering ‘Work from Home’ Policies
Using a VPN massively increases online security. VPNs reroute an internet connection through an alternate server, meaning that a user’s IP address will not be available online. All data transmitted from a device should be encrypted through the use of the VPN, meaning that attackers will not be able to decode it.
Having high security levels online is crucial for any individual or organisation accessing the internet. If the connection is not secure, attackers can steal personal information and use it to access online accounts. This can lead to people being locked out of their own email or bank accounts, and struggling to regain access as the attacker has taken full control.
Additionally, organisations should also have high levels of security, especially if they are storing customer or employee data. It is especially important if the information stored by the company is highly sensitive or personal and could provide attackers with information which was not designed to be shared.
There is also a kill switch enabled with most VPNs which will cut the users connection to the internet if the VPN stops working. This ensures that users will never be left vulnerable online, and will restore the connection once everything is secure and the website is safe to use. The kill switch will be turned on automatically by the VPN provider and should only be activated for the time taken to fix any technical issues, meaning that users should only have their internet access restricted for a short time.
VPNs can provide individuals with the ability to access content from a specific region where it would not usually be available. For example, most companies or organisations have restrictions in place so that sensitive files can only be accessed from specific locations or devices.
This is not ideal in the modern day, as many employees now choose to work remotely, meaning they may work from personal devices or be connected to networks not affiliated with their company. VPN logins can be provided to each individual employee within an organisation, allowing them to access content which would usually be restricted. Organisations often use this system to allow employees to work worldwide and collaborate internationally, increasing productivity and accessibility.
Organisations who allow their employees to login through a VPN simultaneously increase their security. This is because only individuals affiliated with the organisation should be provided with access to the VPN, meaning that files and documents should not be available to access by the general public.
Bypassing Geo-Blockers to Stream Online
Some VPNs can provide users with the ability to bypass geo-blockers. Geo-blockers are in place to prevent users accessing content or streaming services from specific regions. Geo-blockers may be in place due to licensing restrictions or issues with legality in specific countries. Sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer may be prohibited in other European countries besides the United Kingdom, or have alternative streaming options available.
A VPN can provide a user with a different address to make it seem like they are not attempting to access content from a prohibited location. This is also beneficial for employees who need to access company content remotely and cannot do so through their usual VPN provider.
In spite of this, it is important not to use VPNs to bypass geo-blockers which will enable users to access illegal content. Some blockers will be in place to ensure that pirated content cannot be accessed by the general public, and these should not be overcome. In addition to this, some countries will have legal restrictions in place to prevent users from using VPNs. Using a VPN to conceal data within these regions is not advised as there may be legal action taken against users rerouting connections through a VPN server.
The Chance to Reduce Costs
Additionally, using a VPN can reduce a company’s staffing costs. Information technology professionals are usually employed to oversee the day to day running of a site and detect any problems which could potentially arise. With a VPN, this is already taken care of, and the provider may also be able to fix an issue before a member of staff has even been alerted.
This means that companies will not be required to pay additional employees, but can instead pay for a VPN to cover the cost. VPNs allow the service provider to take control of performance checks, general upkeep and security measures, ensuring that there are no technological issues that need to be resolved. If there are problems associated with a website or application, the company will then be able to resolve it without the need for additional staff.
Preventing Censorship and the Spread of False Information in Ukraine
VPNs can also be useful for Ukrainians during this time as accessing sensitive information and the internet is compromised in many cases. People in Ukraine right now deserve access to reliable information about what is going on both in their country and worldwide.
It has been reported that Russia has tampered with the infrastructure in Ukraine, meaning there is a chance for them to begin censoring news. Using a VPN can help internet users within Ukraine to appear as though they are accessing the internet from a different location, and consequently provide them access to major news outlets.
In addition to this, using a VPN can provide not only Ukrainians but any user with increased security. Using a VPN successfully secures web traffic through the creation of an encrypted connection between a device and server which is controlled by the VPN company. It prevents an individual from being able to monitor a user’s connection and checking which sites or information are accessed online. It also hides a user’s IP address and makes it harder to trace online activities back to a device.
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