As a means of securing your computer’s connection to the internet, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become increasingly popular among casual internet users. Whether to mask their location in order to bypass government censorship protocols, access blocked sites or simply stay safe online, VPN encryption is a powerful tool in enhancing and protecting the internet experience for everyday people.
However, VPNs are not just appropriate for consumers and everyday internet users. They also play a vital role in the professional and commercial sectors, too, since they can help to keep your company and its customers safe online. Here are three reasons why using one makes sense for businesses operating in every industry.
Hiding your IP address
Unless you’re a complete newbie to the world of technology, you’ll likely have heard the term “IP address” – but it’s highly possible that some confusion may still exist about what it actually means. Simply put, an IP address is an identity that is unique to your smartphone, computer or other internet-enabled device. It might be helpful to think of it like a fingerprint for your computer, since it’s completely unique to that piece of hardware.
While showing your IP address publicly might not seem like such a risky thing to do, the truth is that unscrupulous cyber criminals can use your IP address to access more sensitive information. By pulling on the thread of the IP address initially, they can unravel compromising data about you and your business, such as its physical address, phone number and potentially even financial credentials such as credit card and bank account numbers.
As a business owner, it’s likely that some of the information you send online will be of a sensitive nature. That could involve the personal data of the clients and customers you deal with, but it could also simply pertain to the intellectual property or trade secrets of your company. Whether it’s stored in a database or sent via email, unencrypted data is susceptible to hacking from savvy cyber criminals.
When you turn on VPN encryption, the information that you send and save is transformed into a coded format that is illegible to humans. In fact, it’s even unreadable by computers – unless they have the appropriate security key to unlock it and turn it back into English (or whatever language it was originally sent in). This basic precaution can be invaluable in keeping your data away from prying eyes.
In today’s modern business world, the practice of working outside of the office is becoming increasingly popular. Indeed, one recent survey found that one in four Americans now work remotely on a full-time basis, with as many as 36.2 million workers expected to do so by 2025. While that phenomenon has unlocked a number of advantages, it also creates security headaches for the IT department.
That’s because individual workers are not necessarily protected by the same robust firewalls and other security measures that they would be if they were on company premises. By obliging all team members to use a VPN when they connect to the internet for business purposes, you can help maintain strong cyber defenses even when they’re in the field or working from home.
VPNs are a great way to enhance the security of your company and keep it safe from malicious threat actors looking to hack your employees’ computers and steal sensitive data. Of course, they’re also perfect for protecting the online activity of the average Joe, as well.