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Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are used for a variety of reasons these days, from accessing different country's streaming services to downloading, well, "dubious" files. But they were initially created to allow employees of a business to access the company network from home or from the road. Instead of having essential files saved to their device, where they're quite vulnerable, they are kept in a central location with better security.
As its name implies, a VPN creates a secure, private connection to a network of your choosing via the internet. It encrypts your entire internet connection by re-routing it through another server. Maybe you've heard that VPNs can make it look like your computer is in a different location, even a different country. That's because of this re-routing process.
Bottom line: it makes your connection much harder to hack.
Using a VPN is especially important when working from home or other remote arrangements. First, our home wifi is often not as well-protected as the one at the office. And even with a strong password, data can still be shared by your internet service provider (ISP). ISPs often collect customer data, anonymize it, and sell it. It's generally not a malicious practice, but it is a cause for concern for those who need to protect client information. Law practices have also become prime targets for hackers - especially those that handle the data of corporate clients.
Even though the concepts behind VPNs are a little complicated, using them is surprisingly easy. There are several services out there that offer VPNs for a reasonable price, and they're often packaged with other security tools. And once you have it, you just click connect, maybe enter a password, and you're good to go. Many even allow you to have the VPN automatically connect when your computer starts up.
Once you have it set up, be sure all staff know about the business VPN and how to use it. As many in the cybersecurity world like to say: Your system is only as secure as its weakest point.
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