what-is-a-vpn

Over the last two decades, the internet has rapidly become the forefront of both our business and social lives, leaving us completely reliant on its functionality in order to live a ‘normal’ life. Because of this, users and businesses alike have become targets for cyber-attacks for their sensitive data such as company information and financial records. By using a public network you are putting yourself in a vulnerable situation, whether you are aware of it or not. To avoid these attacks, people and businesses have turned to Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. You have an anti-virus installed to protect your local data; VPNs exist to protect your online data.

Not only is your data sent through private servers, most services encrypt the data that is transmitted throughout it, so even if a hacker manages to gather a small amount of information, it’s encrypted and inaccessible. As well as encrypting your data, VPNs also give you the option to connect to remote servers all around the world, allowing users to change their location to wherever they please to access geo-restricted content.

Because of these factors VPNs are increasingly common with torrenters who bask in the anonymity but as well Netflix and other streaming service users who wish to expand their library through accessing other countries content by changing their location.If you’ve never used a VPN, this all may seem a bit overwhelming, but they are remarkably easy to use and inexpensive, making them more and more popular with concerned internet users every day. You can download VPN software for sometimes less than <$50 USD a year. Once installed you simply turn it on and off as you please, choosing where you would like to appear online from. Eg California, USA or Sydney, AUS.

Is it really necessary?

In 2015, the Australian Government introduced data retention laws which require ISP’s to withhold your metadata, including your internet usage data, for 2 years. Some believe that this breach of privacy is unnecessary and have turned to VPNs to protect their privacy.

Many businesses choose to use private networks, to protect their data from unwanted third party data breaches or financial loss. By masking their online presence through a VPN, they can protect their data from attacks with minimal effort.

Even if privacy isn’t your main concern, a VPN is extremely useful when you are using untrusted wifi networks, which is becoming more and more common each day with the illusive “FREE WIFI” signs in every shopping centre and café throughout the city. This small step to protecting your privacy, your work and most importantly your sensitive data will actively protect you and your devices from prying eyes and cyber-attacks.

Which VPN is right for me?

Good question. With their growing popularity, the market has become flooded with competing brands offering to protect your data. When choosing a VPN service, the main point of concern should be their reputation and their standing with current users. Read as many reviews as you can find and cross reference their security precautions with tech review sites to ensure that they are who they say they are and they will do what they say they’ll do.

A rule of thumb with VPNs is to not use a free service. These platforms offer less encryption, if any and usually make their money through gathering data on your internet usage for advertising purposes. Luckily for you, the difference between in cost for a premium service is minor, with most services costing less than $10 a month. Here’s a few which are highly regarded:

Private Internet Access

With a commitment to speed and anonymity, PIA is an extremely popular VPN service which costs $40US a year at the time of writing. With servers all over the world and a high regard from current users, PIA is extremely popular, offering a straightforward interface which runs seamlessly in the background.

TorGaurd

This service boasts a huge amount of worldwide servers with over 1200 active servers operating at any one time. With packages starting from $5.95 a month for anonymous proxy services, it is also an affordable option for those not wishing to spend so much.

IPVanish

IPVanish is amoung the more expensive services although claims to have the highest level of security to compensate for the price, which is $80USD at the time of writing. If secure connections are your main concern and you are sending sensitive data often, this may be the service for you.

Whether you want to expand your Netflix library by logging in from the USA or wish to take extra precautions to protect sensitive personal or business related data, a VPN is an easy and affordable option to protect you online.

Published by dlook

dLook are online advertising specialists at the forefront of the advertising on the Internet. Combined with their flagship business directory, dlook.com.au, dLook have been providing online advertising solutions to Australian businesses for the past seven years, from branding pages, to multimedia videos, social media strategies to customised websites. Talk to dLook for more.

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