A virtual private network (VPN) is a valuable tool in the arsenal of all internet users.
Unfortunately, not all VPNs are built equally, and these tools, while useful, are still not foolproof. What are the powers and limitations of VPNs and are you using the proper one? We’ll show you what you need to know.
What is a VPN and How Does it Work?
A VPN is a private network connection that will encrypt your internet browsing and hide your IP address. A VPN functions by redirecting your internet traffic through a remote server operated by the host of the VPN.
Thus, the websites that a person visits along with the individual’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot see what a person is doing on the net because the traffic is encrypted. If someone were to somehow gain access to the raw data of your internet browsing, it would essentially be unreadable without a ciphertext and key.
VPNs provide many services including:
Encrypting your data while using risky public networks
Reducing online tracking and providing enhanced privacy
Limiting ISP monitoring
Providing users with access to region-locked content on streaming services
An individual or business can take advantage of this array of benefits, but you should always make sure the VPN is properly operating.
How to Know if Your VPN is Actually Secure
As we’ve said, some VPNs are better than others, and several ways exist to see if your VPN is truly secure.
You should look for the following to make sure your VPN meets the basic requirements:
Make sure your VPN uses private DNS servers
Check what data the VPN logs and keeps before signing up
Examine the security protocol used to tunnel you to the VPNs server (OpenVPN is high-quality)
Find the base of operations for your VPN and make sure it’s not in a place rife with government surveillance
Some governments, like the U.S. and Canada, are engaged in monitoring VPN interactions within their jurisdiction. You may want a VPN based in a more internet-friendly country.
What a VPN Should Do and How to Know It’s Performing
Your VPN should mask your internet browsing and location, ultimately providing the services we listed above. Yet, you should not simply trust that your VPN is working.
Here are some tests you can run to see if your VPN is acting the way it’s supposed to:
See if you can access geo-locked data like movies on your streaming service of choice
Use internet resources to check for DNS leaks
Check for IP address leaks (check your IP online with your VPN off and then on; it should be different)
Using these methods, you can make sure your VPN is doing the bare minimum of what it should be.
What Are the Limits of a VPN?
A VPN can help increase the security of your business while also providing privacy to individuals. Although VPNs are very potent tools, they’re not foolproof. Know the limits of a VPN, and you can safely browse the internet.
Consider these VPN limits:
Protecting from specific threats
A VPN is not going to save you from all threats on the internet. Ransomware, spyware, and viruses can still get through your security even if you’re running a VPN.
Improving password strength
Site security is only as good as the person running it. If you use bad passwords, then you face higher chances of facing negative outcomes on the internet.
Safeguarding people committing illegal activities
Although a VPN can help a person stay somewhat anonymous on the internet, many VPNs log some of your activity, and they will cooperate with law enforcement to nail you on criminal charges.
VPNs have many limitations, but the benefits are serious enough to consider getting one.
Establishing a VPN is relatively simple for most businesses. It’s as simple as downloading and installing a program in most cases. However, knowing the best VPN and configuring it to meet your needs requires some expertise.
Be sure to reach out to VPN experts to help you get the best outcomes for your home office or business. That will save you a tremendous amount of effort and the worry of wondering if you have the right VPN.