If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already part of the 37% of American adults who use the internet but haven’t upgraded their internet connection in the last year. Chances are, your internet isn’t fast enough, has too many connections, or uses the wrong brand of internet service. These are all symptoms of a slow, unreliable, or expensive internet connection.
The only way to avoid all of these problems is to use a VPN. A VPN creates a secure, private connection between your device and the website or app you’re connecting to, protecting everything from financial information to your personal identity. In this article, we’ll discuss why a VPN is important to your small business.
Security Is Important
You’d never think of your computer or mobile device as a weak point in your security, but it is. When you connect to public WiFi at an airport or coffee shop, all of the malware and hackers on the internet have access to your device. The same goes for when you’re using public computers at a library or the local coffee shop. Your personal data, financial information, and business assets are all at risk. And did I mention the malware is free?
Your internet connection is also at risk whenever you’re using unshielded WiFi, which can be accessed by anyone within range. Unprotected WiFi exists in almost every region of the world, so your location doesn’t protect you from exposure to harmful content. If someone is nearby, they could potentially access your device and steal your personal identity or damage your business.
Privacy Is Important
Using a VPN means protecting your personal data and limiting the information you share with advertisers and third parties. When you create an account with a VPN service, you have the option to keep your personal data private and hidden from prying eyes. Furthermore, many VPNs allow you to limit the information they collect, meaning your personal data won’t be stored or accessed by third parties. In other words, your personal data remains private even when you’re connected to an unsecure WiFi network.
When you use public WiFi at an airport or coffee shop, your personal data is already being monitored and recorded by those who run those places. Employees and guests have the ability to monitor your activity on social media, track your keystrokes, and gather information about what you’re searching for. To add insult to injury, the owners of these places often share the information they have with government agencies, which could lead to you being persecuted or attacked. Using a VPN protects your personal data and limits the information you share, even when you’re on public WiFi.
Your Internet Connection Can Fluctuate In Quality
You have to approach your internet connection with a certain amount of skepticism, because despite all of the wonderful things you could do online, your internet connection could still be compromised. In places where there is a lot of competition, like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, internet connections can be terribly slow and, at times, completely unavailable. In other places, such as India and China, internet connections are fast and reliable, but there is a lot of censorship, which limits the sites and information you can access. There is no way to know in advance what kind of internet connection you’re going to get.
VPNs offer the best of both worlds. They provide you with a secure and private connection, even when you’re on an unsecure network. And even if the internet connection is fast and reliable, you can use a VPN to access sites and content that are restricted or banned in your area.
Encryption Is Important
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already familiar with the term encryption and how it works. Everything you type into a website or app is encrypted by default, which is a good thing, because without encryption, your personal data would be open to the prying eyes of hackers and cybercriminals. To access your data, they would either have to hack into your device or steal your login information. In most cases, this is a lot easier said than done.
VPNs are excellent at encrypting all of your data, whether it’s while you’re surfing the web or sending an email. You can’t distinguish between encrypted and unencrypted data, which means every bit of information you send or receive is kept private and safe. The only weak point in encryption is when people write poor code. Hackers can often find a way around very strong encryption, whether it’s through a weak password or a simple attack on the device itself. Your best defense against this is with a VPN. When you’re connected to a secure VPN, even if someone gets access to your computer or mobile device, they won’t be able to read your emails, look at your photos, or steal your financial information. Instead, they will see a bunch of encrypted characters, which could easily be a string of nonsense letters or numbers or a bunch of flowers.
Location Is Important
Even if you’re using a VPN, your location still influences which sites you can view. A lot of content is restricted by location, whether it’s adult content or specific political content. If you want to access these sites, you have to be near enough to one of the servers to receive the relevant content, otherwise, you receive a message saying the content is unavailable for your region.
The most reliable and safest way to find the content you want is to enter your VPN login details at the top of the web page. This will automatically connect you to the server closest to you. So even when you use a VPN, location still matters, which means you’re at risk of being tracked by advertisers or law enforcement. When you’re connected to a VPN, your actual location is hidden, which means your personal data remains anonymous and untraceable.
Choosing A VPN Is Complicated
Choosing a VPN is not like choosing a pair of shoes. You need to examine a number of features before you make a decision. Some of the important features are listed below.
Prices vary widely between the different VPN services, but you need to understand that the cheaper the service, the more limited its features. You can get a good feel for the quality of a VPN’s customer service by checking out their website or reading their reviews on third-party review platforms, like Trustpilot. If you’re wondering how much a VPN costs, the answer is usually displayed on the company’s website along with a detailed explanation of the features. You can also call the company directly or email them to find out what plans they have available. A few good questions to ask include:
- Does the service have a free trial?
- How many devices can I connect to the service?
- Does the service have any limits on how much data I can use?
- How many gigabytes of data is included in the package?
- Do I need to pay extra for additional features?
- What kind of encryption does the service use?
- What is the strength of the encryption?
- Does the service have any limits on the number of countries or regions I can access?
- What is the speed of the connection?
- What are the different platforms the service is compatible with?
- Are there any technical support people available should I have problems?
The more features a VPN has, the more useful it is. In terms of online privacy, you want to get as much functionality as you can for your money’s worth. Some of the important features of a good VPN include:
HTTP vs HTTPS
Most people think that HTTPS is safer and more reliable than HTTP, which is true. However, most people also think that once they’ve paid for a VPN, they’re protected from the dangers of the internet. Sadly, this is not the case. Unless you pay extra for a feature that allows you to access HTTPS websites when you’re connected to a VPN, you’re still vulnerable to eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. In some cases, the VPN providers themselves can eavesdrop on your connection and inject their own advertisements or malware into your browsing experience. Even with extra features, unless you access encrypted websites, your browsing history and activity remains visible to third parties while you’re connected to a VPN.