You might have heard of a VPN before and it’s even possible that you’ve used one before – but do you know what they do and why they’re important for security? A VPN stands for virtual private network. Using a VPN allows you privacy online. Originally, VPNs were used by big business, organization and government establishments to keep data secure. As the trend shifted toward more companies employing remote workers, they needed a secure way to connect employees to their network while minimizing their risk for hacks and data breaches. For the most part, a business’ VPN will allow employees to remotely connect to the tools they need as if they were at the office. Today, VPNs can be used by anyone because they ensure that your location stays private, your data is encrypted and that you can search the web anonymously.
“Some VPNs pose as a way to get a secure connection, but actually log everything you do for marketing purposes.”
Computers Nationwide advocates doing plenty of research before choosing a VPN service. Some important questions to consider: “Is this company actually helping my data be more secure, or am I exposing myself to someone else monitoring me instead?” Consider these 5 factors when deciding on a VPN for personal use or for your business:
- Make sure you know who owns the VPN service.
- Where are the VPN servers hosted? Will you be able to connect globally?
- Does the VPN service have a clear logging policy? What does it log, why does it log certain data and for how long? A paid VPN service that cares about privacy should log as little information as possible, so that you aren’t exposed retroactively should they suffer a security breach in the future.
- What country is the VPN service founded in? Is that country a part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes spying agreements, where countries — led by U.S. authorities — work together to collect data on internet users in secret?
- Is this VPN service using modern encryption technology that will actually hide your traffic? This might include things like SSH tunnels, which mask your habits.