Why VPNs are essential when it comes to securing networks, privacy, warding off cybercrime and circumventing censorship.
From the exclusive domain of private companies who used the technology to allow employees access to their intranets, to a supposed tool for shadowy and suspect activities online, and finally to the widely accepted tech we all know and use today, virtual private networks (VPNs) have come a long way.
Although we’ve had VPN technology for decades, it’s really only now that the safety and security solution is coming into its own and being put to a surprising number of uses. It’s so mainstream that even major hardware producers such as Hewlett Packard have jumped on the VPN train and include the software as standard on a number of their new edition computers.
If you’re not connecting through a private network yet, here’s why you should:
Securing networks while working from home
March 2020 saw an unprecedented hike in the number of VPN users as millions across the world were asked to work from home during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. One provider noted a 165 percent rise in its client base from March 11.
While most office environments, particularly in bigger companies, offer decent cybersecurity measures, these precautions have been dispersed somewhat as workforces are relegated to their living rooms. Staff working on home networks and devices of questionable security status means VPN has become an essential tool for any business.
Countering unwarranted intrusions
Individual user data is arguably the single most valuable commodity up for grabs today. The Economist goes so far as to state its importance over traditional commodities such as oil. With many looking to secure as much data a possible, via both legal and illegal means, countering any unwanted and unwarranted intrusions on our digital privacy is more important than ever. If you don’t want your private browsing data sold to a third-party for profit, connecting a VPN every time you log-in is key.
Getting the facts in a post-fact world
Somehow, we’re in a situation where the deliberate spread of misinformation and inherently biased information is paraded as fact. This is especially true in countries where government policies prohibit any media that is not state-endorsed. Egypt is a case in point, the nation of 90 million people has one independent news outlets left, Mada Masr, a paper that was threatened in 2019 and again in 2020. Citizens cannot access Mada Masr’s website in Egypt and VPN websites are also blocked.
Egypt is not alone in this, many nations have similar policies in place. Skirting the censorship is essential to uncovering the true narrative and discerning government-approved fiction from reality. Use a VPN to unblock sites and discover events from other points of view.
Of course, these are just a few of the ways VPNs make the net easier and safer to navigate and make sure that everyone has access to the same information. Not to mention that VPNs protect you from identity theft, Cambridge Analytica style data theft, unsecured public networks, and hackers.