With increasing concerns around privacy and online security, more and more people and businesses are using VPNs to protect themselves, but what exactly are they?

VPNs are extremely useful tools for businesses, but they are becoming more popular with more casual internet users too. We’ll get on to the many uses for them shortly, but first, let’s discuss how they work…

How Do VPNs Work?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows users to generate a secure connection to another network across the internet. Once set up, users connect a VPN which then forwards the traffic to the network they wish to connect to. Once connected to the VPN server, the computer or device acts as if it is on the network the users are looking to connect to, allowing them to securely access resources on that network, even if they are connecting from the other side of the world. Simply put, if you wanted to view content that was only available in another country for instance, a VPN allows your device to appear as if it is connecting from that country in order to access it. When browsing the web via a VPN, your device contacts sites through an encrypted connection too, adding a significant layer of security. 

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Uses for VPNs

As mentioned, a VPN can make you appear as if you are accessing content from a different country, allowing you to bypass possible restrictions in your current location. This is often linked with illicit web use, and while many individual users may be using VPNs for this purpose, they actually have great value for businesses. As any connection via a VPN is encrypted, it is extremely useful when accessing the internet on public WiFi - in a coffee shop for instance. This makes it very difficult for hackers to access your device or view personal information while connected to the network. You can find more information on how to stay secure on public WiFi here. VPNs also allow for remote working. Most company infrastructures are localised, meaning they cannot be accessed by users unless they are connected to the local network. A VPN allows people to access these networks from locations outside of the company premises, meaning home or remote working is possible. Read more about how to properly prepare your team for remote working here.

Setting Up A VPN

Setting up a VPN is a relatively straightforward task, and once in place, switching to a VPN from a regular connection is as simple as turning it on in your taskbar, or in your device’s settings. There are countless VPN providers, and you should do some research into the best one to suit your and your company's needs. Look for things like bandwidth and data caps as well as pricing.

BirchenallHowden are not only able to help your company get set up with a VPN, but we also provide virtual private servers housed securely in UK data centres. If you would like more information on how we can help your business operate as securely as possible, please get in touch.

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