If you have been reading about cybersecurity, you have probably heard of VPN (Virtual Private Network) services. These services claim to offer anonymity and security in a single package, and the monthly fees for accessing these networks tend to be pretty low. At the same time, they almost seem too good to be true. We are told that we can secure a network for a single low monthly fee. In practice, it isn’t necessarily that simple. Nevertheless, a VPN service offers a lot of benefits to businesses of all types. And so, we ask the question: How important is a VPN service to your business?
How A VPN Works
Under normal circumstances, you access the internet by connecting to remote machines called servers. They are called such because they “serve” the internet to an end-use device (like your phone or computer). Most websites are either running on private servers or making use of public server-rental services.
When you use a VPN, you are putting a third-party remote server in between you and the rest of the internet. Thus, any servers you access will have to send and receive their data through this “middle-man” server. Add some encryption to that middle server and you get a VPN. In practice, this basically creates a private tunnel between you and the rest of the internet.
VPN Encryption is carried out in real-time, so your traffic will be encrypted before it is transmitted or received. Encryption works by “scrambling” the data. Thus, if someone intercepts that network traffic (and the data it contains), they will not be able to read anything. They will simply receive a useless jumble of raw data that isn’t good for anything.
Why Would I Want A VPN For My Business?
Not every business necessarily needs these services, but most businesses can benefit from them. For one thing, the cybersecurity advantages are obvious. Many cyber attacks will begin with the monitoring and interception of network traffic. Obviously, a VPN makes that process a lot harder (if not impossible).
As for the privacy aspect, that also helps with the cybersecurity situation. When someone is attempting to carry out a cyber-attack, they will attempt to gather information about your system, your habits, and pretty much anything else they can find. They use this information to make custom-crafted scams, malware, etc. However, with a VPN, that intelligence-gathering step will become a lot more difficult.
File-sharing is one of the more vulnerable functions on a business network. There is no way to avoid the need to send files among co-workers and business partners, and these can sometimes be read in transit. This is where network encryption is essential. Once again, that encrypted data will be virtually impossible for anyone to decipher or use.
That brings us to the convenience advantages. VPN networks allow for easier remote access, making them ideal for those working from home. Unlike some other types of networks, VPN networks are meant to be spread out over a wide geographic area. The larger VPN providers offer services throughout the world, so their business model has been like this from the beginning. As such, VPN networks are very easy to access remotely.
VPN services can also be used to counter a very dirty trick that some businesses have been using. By reading various types of user data, business sites can give “custom prices” based on the customer’s location and habits. For instance, if they can see that you’ve searched for the same item multiple times, they know you really want that item. Thus, they know they can jack the price up.
Your geographical location can also play a role here. If you come from a more wealthy country, they know you can (probably) pay more. We are quite sure that you can see the theme here: Some of these companies will charge you as much as they feel they can. A VPN service, of course, allows you to change your perceived location and hide your history. Thus, it is a good way to defeat these sneaky price-gouging methods. Most services will allow you to choose servers from many different countries, allowing you to turn the tables on these dirty merchants.
How To Choose A Good VPN Service
There are several key things that you should look for in a VPN service. The most important thing is trust, of course. You may not have the time or ability to establish trust with these people on a personal level, but you can definitely look at their known track record. If you see a VPN service that has had to make numerous public apologies for security failures, it probably isn’t the way to go.
Speed is also very important. Since you are using a “middle-man” server to access the internet, you will be affected by the speed of that server. Incidentally, this is why free VPN services are always so slow. When the service is free, there is no motivation to optimize the VPN server and increase its speed. So, if you see a VPN service that slows down your activities, it probably isn’t worth the money either.
What About Regular Network Encryption?
VPN services are not the only form of web encryption. In fact, many websites use HTTPS encryption as a normal procedure. There are other forms of web encryption as well, like the WPA-type encryption that is commonly used for WiFi networks. Are all of these things effective? Yes. However, none of them will offer the same level of encryption as a VPN. Besides, encryption tends to work best when multiple layers are employed. As such, these rudimentary forms of web encryption are no substitute for a well-run VPN service.
In the end, most businesses should invest in a VPN service. It is a simple and inexpensive step that can improve your security on all levels. Further, it can even improve your network performance if you choose the right company. If you would like to learn more, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.