We’re pretty outspoken in our support of VPNs (virtual private networks) as an indispensable tool for your online security. However, considering that there are things that a VPN can and can’t do, we thought it would be helpful to specify what a VPN is really for.
A VPN is a tool that allows you to protect your Internet traffic with encryption.
Take a moment and compare a subway to a car. When you’re driving down the street in a car, anyone else who is on the street can see you. They see the car, they see where the car is going, everything is transparent. This is more or less what the average Internet connection is like, concerning your information and Internet traffic.
Now, think about what it is like to ride the subway. While someone on the surface may be aware that there is a subway below them, they can’t see the underground train. Of course, they also can’t see you inside it. This is what navigating the Internet is like while using a VPN. Because your data and even your identity is encrypted as you use a VPN to surf the web, nobody can see what you’re doing. Not hackers, and not even your service provider.
This is precisely what makes a VPN such a great tool for remote work, as an employee using one can securely access the resources stored on the business’ network without allowing anyone else to peek.
This is where we start to get into semantics.
First, you need to define what you mean when you say “protect.” Just as there are many threats out there, you need to have many different types of protection to stop them all. A VPN shields your Internet connection and its history from view. Period. You can still download plenty of viruses and malicious files when using a VPN, particularly if you use it to visit an unsafe website.
In and of itself, a VPN isn’t a secure concept. Any security it has will come from its protocols, and how well they have been maintained. Some protocols aren’t secure enough any longer, while some are. If you aren’t sure what works best for your needs, reach out to us for help.
SCW has the skill and expertise to help you make the most use of your VPN. To continue this conversation and begin improving your online protections, give us a call at (509) 534-1530… there’s plenty more to discuss.
Sam is a network engineer with a broad range of experience spanning more than 35 years. He wrote is first piece of code in 1979 and has been involved with the industry ever since. For the last 20 years, he has worked for SCW Consulting where he has embraced his passion for network technology and security.
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