In the age of the internet, your privacy is paramount, you just don’t know where your information could end up if you don’t take measures. The phrase “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst” springs to mind.
With everyone using the internet more and more from shopping to banking, your information is in the hands of more and more providers e.g. if you shop online a lot your personal information and payment details are needed for each and every purchase. So if you bank online, shop online or just surf the web a lot. It’s better to err on the safe side and use a VPN to protect your data.
But whats a VPN you ask?
It stands for a Virtual Private Network(VPN), it helps keep your internet usage private and away from prying eyes. It does this by encrypting your data and funnel it through their software so when it comes out the other end onto the internet your information and location are masked. Plus your computers IP address shows as the VPNs IP address so it’s not only your data but your location that’s protected too.
Why it’s important in this modern connected world?
You may think it won’t happen to you, but more than 770,000 Australian had their identities robbed this past year alone. It’s a very real threat, that a VPN can save you from. To give you an example from everyday life, suppose you decide to visit your local cafe for a few hours to work or just chill and surf the internet.
You may think nothing of using the local cafes the free WiFi, but when you connect to a public WiFi network you open yourself up and risk your personal data. You don’t know who else in that cafe could be using the connection or monitoring users, and just because its called “Cafe name free WiFi” doesn’t mean its provided by that cafe, it could be provided by the very person out to steal your information. Think of all your passwords, credit card details and personal information stored on your computer they could access and steal? A VPN protects you from this.
What are the benefits of using a VPN apart from it being secure
In the example above we showed you a scenario of how your privacy online could be breached. So apart from the added security benefits, there are other reasons people use a VPN. For example, when Netflix was only in the US, if you had a VPN you could set your IP address to a location in the US and presto you have access to Netflix US even if you were based in Australia. And while Australia doesn’t have an oppressive government that restricts access to the internet or specific sites, if it did a VPN would allow you to bypass any location-specific blocking and let you access the sites and information wanted.
Getting set up with a VPN
If you’ve decided a VPN is for you fantastic, its an important piece of software to have in your personal security toolkit. It will also protect you far more than any incognito window via your internet browser. Now you should know that not all VPNs are created equal, and there are a few things you should look out for in your research for one. Some of the market leaders include Private Internet Access, NordVPN, PureVPN. Make sure they:
- Don’t store/log your history
- Don’t package up and sell your anonymous data
While the VPNs mentioned above are all paid services and you can get free VPNs (and the free ones aren’t all bad), remember a free trial is different to a fully free service. These free VPNs have to make a living somehow, and the company providing the free service simply may not have the resources to support their VPN without revenue, so check where they get that revenue from if it’s not from you.
So the old adage is true, you do get what you pay for and to get the best VPN you have to pay for it. But with the average annual cost for paid service only coming in at around $30 – $100, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
When you’ve decided on your provider it’s very straightforward to get set up. You’ll need to:
- Create an account with a username and password
- Download the software
- Turn it on and – enjoy secure browsing in and out of your home/business
Once you are up and running with your chosen provider you can check to see if they are working and protecting your data and IP address via IPLeak.net.
How to permanently be connected securely to the Internet
You can run into some issues with a VPN running on your computer or device e.g. your Google/Amazon/Apple home products need your data to know your account info and work properly. The only way to use your home devices and get data protection is to choose a router that has VPN capabilities. That way day and night you are protected on every device connecting to your home internet. Without needing to remember to turn on your VPN.
Why a small business should protect its data coming in and leaving its network
We’ve talked about how important it is to protect your personal information, but how about your small business information? Small business information is even more important then personal information, especially if you have staff. Think of all the sensitive information you have on them, name, address, DOB, banking details, super and tax information. You owe it to your staff to take steps to adequately protect their information.
So whether you want to protect your business information online or access the US library of Netflix, speak to the experts at Buzz A Geek – we’ll help you select and set up your VPN and have you browsing securely in no time.