Advantages of using a VPN for businesses and consumers
One of the downfalls of the internet is poor security when sending information through regular channels. Large projects and files can be sent via a number of ways, email or made available for a download using various techniques, but these systems are not fool proof and are often not very secure.
In addition to that, there is extra room for human error when using such methods. I.E. a person could simply forget to upload or send a file or by sending the wrong file. This kind of thing has happened countless times, especially when there is more than one version of something – for instance, a contract.
Business moves more quickly than ever, and sometimes things have to fit together with a greater degree of precision than was necessary than in the past. This has come about in large part because of the speed with which information technology allows us to accomplish data transfer. This has spilled over into the physical world, with more and more businesses running what is called ‘just in time’ supply chains. In this new, fast paced world company information has to be available to a wide variety of people spread across the company, and working from different locations. You can see why emailing documents just is not going to cut it after a certain point. With a tighter, more efficient system, mistakes can cause hiccups throughout the entire system, both information and logistical.
- What is a VPN?
One technology which has come online as a solution to these problems is the VPN, or Virtual Private Network. This technology uses virtual connections which are securely encrypted to form a network which can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection. It works by providing isolated connections that are encrypted by the network itself. Using this technology, even though you are using the internet, your data stream remains extremely secure. There are multiple layers of security infrastructure built into the VPN itself, from tunneling protocols to the encryption, and other layers which make it almost impossible for someone to break into a VPN system.
Tunneling operates by encapsulating a payload protocol (the information you need) inside of a network protocol. Tunneling simply takes the place of TCP/IP and OSI. Tunneling linked with a VPN make the security of the system nearly impenetrable.
The main technology until now, and one that still has widespread use, is what are called leased lines. With these a company can set up a network like an ISDN, but this technique is already getting old, and is increasingly expensive and slow to adapt to changing situations.
With the new VPN’s, a company starts by establishing a business intranet, or internal networks. These intranets can only be signed onto by company employees. Once a VPN is established, employees can sign onto the company’s intranet and have full access to the company’s computers, servers and files from any remote location. And the best thing is, it is completely secure. One of the features of the VPN is the fact that all information sent via the network is encrypted so that even should someone gain access to the information stream they will have access to nothing of use.
Now, if a file is going to be ready at the last minute or if a salesman or tech realizes he needs additional info, there is no need to call someone and get it sent – with the VPN you can simply log into the company’s system and get what you need directly. The speed and reliability of the internet is what makes this possible, and that has grown exponentially over the last ten to twelve years. The VPN user
VPN’s are gaining popularity among businesses and single consumers and small businessmen because of their ease of setup and the lower and lower cost; data retrieval is not the only reason to set up a VPN, though.
- VPN and privacy concerns
One other main consideration is security. This can be just as important for individuals as for small or large businesses. As you surf the web, different companies such as Facebook and Google (and many, many others) have different methods of tracking your journey through the web, and noting down every move you make and every website you visit. This is not by definition bad, but it is disturbing if you think about basic privacy issues. It makes targeted advertising possible, but it also virtually extinguishes any vestige of privacy that you think you may have.
The main thing is to be aware of your options. If you do not want large internet providers and companies tracking your every move, many people are starting to use VPN’s to travel the internet and avoid having these companies record everywhere you go. With a VPN, this tracking technology is defeated by the very nature of the network, and for the extra security conscious it is possible to buy VPN’s that do not even save the log pages.
This may seem like overkill, but be aware of the amount of information which is widely available on the internet. Many people assume that what they do in their home by themselves is private, but the internet is not really designed that way. It can be, but you are the one that has to take the steps to make sure your privacy is protected, and more and more people are using the simple technique of protecting their privacy and their security by using VPN’s for this purpose.
In the end, whether you are at the airport and realize you forgot the contract, or you are working on last minute revisions of a project which has many moving parts and many different people in different areas of endeavor – or if you just want to surf the web in complete privacy, as people are used to conducting their affairs (or at least have been in times past), a VPN can be the answer. With increased ease of use coupled with decreasing prices, more and more people and small businesses are taking advantage of the benefits which a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, can bring.