January 8, 2016

VPNs have been used by larger corporations for a number of years now, allowing them to transfer secure and sensitive information across the Internet. However, personal VPNs are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people realise how vulnerable we can be when browsing online.

What is a VPN?

VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is a tool that creates a secure ‘tunnel’ between you and the websites you are visiting. It also substitutes your IP address (something which can be used to identify you online) with one from the VPN provider.

How does a VPN benefit me?

WhatIsMyIP came up with a brilliant analogy, that perfectly sums up the purpose of a VPN – “a firewall protects your data while on the computer and a VPN protects your data on the web.” So, whilst a firewall protects your data on your PC, the VPN protects your data once it leaves your computer. This is incredibly important, because savvy cyber criminals can intercept your data online and duplicate it, if it’s unprotected. However, this is difficult for them to do if you are visiting trusted websites that have layers of encryption and use secure transfer protocols, such as HTTPS (You might have seen a green padlock in your browser when using Facebook, Online Banking or similar trusted websites. That’s HTTPS.)

As well as security benefits, VPN can also allow you to spoof your location, which allows you to get around geo-locational barriers. For instance, a lot of people use a VPN in America to use the BBC’s iPlayer website. However, most free VPN providers don’t offer the bandwidth needed to stream media online. There are however paid-for services that offer superior speed among other features, compared to their free counterparts.

Why is a VPN important to my business?

As more interactions that were previously face-to-face transition online, we lose the security and accountability of a person’s physical presence. So, when you’re paying for an item over eBay or checking your bank balance, you have no idea who is on the other side. Plus, you have no idea who is peering in on your conversation or transaction either. So, with businesses sending out sensitive data to clients, suppliers and staff all the time, it’s never been more important to protect what you’re sending online.

If you want your business to be safe online, get in touch with the Synextra Support Team today to find out more. We work hard to provide small businesses with the best IT support Manchester has to offer.