Benefits of VPN: 4 Main Advantages

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest and prominent issues in today’s online world. There are many threats and dangers posed by the internet. In 2020, there was a staggering amount of data loss and cybersecurity breaches. The internet is riddled with malware, cookies, hackers and huge levels of cybercrime. 

(Image Source: Digital Guardian)

The image above shows how much data breaches cost in 2020. For this reason, many turn to VPNs to offer security and improve their networks and online experiences.

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

VPN is an abbreviation for Virtual Private Network and is used by many as a way of maintaining privacy when online. VPNs help to increase security by re-routing traffic between the server and the device that is connected to the internet, connecting them both through an encrypted tunnel, rather than offering a direct connection to the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

A vast amount of large organisations use VPNs as a way for employees to have secure remote access to work servers, when working from home or different locations, for instance. Using a VPN helps to maintain the safety of employees and their data as well as the data and information of the business. VPNs allow employees to access their organisation’s resources without putting any party under threat of cyber attacks.

How does a VPN work?

VPNs hide the IP address of a network by allowing it to redirect traffic through a configured route that has been created – directly to the remote server. The remote server is usually run by the VPN host and so, when online, the device’s location will show the location of the server which will become the new source of data rather than the ISP. 

Putting a VPN in place will protect online users and avoid third parties from gaining access to the real IP address location, diluting the threat of hackers and spyware, especially as they will not be able to see the website that has been visited. However, even if hackers were to get their hands on the information, the data acquired through a VPN is illegible, therefore it is useless.

(Image Source: SHU Blogs)

Cloud computing offers the ability for organisations to designate software, services and data to run across the internet, as opposed to running them locally through devices and servers. Through cloud VPNs, the host VPN services can be obtained via a web browser or a smartphone application, eradicating the need for physical hardware whilst doing the same job as a traditional VPN.

With this in mind, it can be argued that cloud computing is much more efficient and cost-effective. It will give organisations the ability to outsource the maintenance of their server without an in-house team. So what are the advantages of having a VPN?

Advantages of VPN

1. Hiding IP addresses

Firstly, a good VPN, (not free VPNs as they may hold data) changes your IP address so no one can see or access your location. An IP address is a number that automatically gets assigned to your network. In most cases, many online websites can see your location on the backend dashboards of their site which provides them with vital insight and analytics. From your IP address, they are then able to restrict your access to certain pages by locking them purely based on the geographical location (geoblocks).

However, with a VPN in place, you will be able to get around the geoblocks. If your VPN server is connected to a server in another country, it will automatically assign you an IP address from that country. This will then give the illusion that your location is coming from that country which will give you access. Many use VPNs to change their IP address to be able to access geo-blocked entertainment. 

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2. Encryption

One of the best reasons to put a VPN in place is thanks to its ability to encrypt your data. Encrypting data can prevent hackers from getting their hands on your sensitive information. As most banking is done online today, it is important to keep your personal credit safe. 

There is a huge risk when also using public Wi-Fi, and without any safety measurements in place, there is a greater chance of a malicious party being able to access your credentials through your device. 

3. Stop slow connection and use multiple servers 

Your Internet service provider (ISP) can deliberately throttle your bandwidth by limiting it which effectively slows down your online speeds. This is done by ISPs to decrease overloading traffic to their servers. Furthermore, if you are downloading too much, they may slow your connection for the sole purpose of discouraging users. However, when using a VPN, as the data is encrypted the ISP is unable to see your online activities which means they won’t be able to throttle your connection or slow it down. 

(Image Source: Center for International Media Assistance

The best VPN providers will allow you to use their services on multiple devices which means you can use them on your PC, Laptop, Tablet, and Smartphone – all at the same time.

4. Safe downloading

Thanks to your IP address being hidden and an encrypted connection, third parties will not be able to access information regarding what is downloaded through a VPN connection. This is great for those working and handling sensitive information and can be a great tool to have in healthcare settings. As the pandemic has pushed many to work from home, a VPN can keep downloaded files safe from others, especially if third parties can use this information to their advantage. However, it is wise to consider that although you may have a VPN in place, it is still advisable to not download anything out of the ordinary as there it’s still potential for threat.