What Is A Virtual Private Network?!
When it comes to online privacy and security, few subjects are more important (or confusing) than Virtual Private Networks or VPNs. To better understand the technology, let’s begin with a simple definition:
A virtual private network (or VPN) is a tool — comprised of hardware and software — which allows specific people to have access to specific data stored on specific computers.
Think about your email for a second. Most people already know that their emails reside on fancy computers — called “servers”— which are owned and operated by companies like Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. However, those servers don’t just keep your personal email account: they also keep the email accounts for many thousands of people. Therefore, to maintain everyone’s privacy, you only have specific access to those email accounts which are actually yours.
VPNs work in much the same way.
A username and password are required when logging into VPN software. That software can reside on your computer or smart devices. Once you’ve successfully logged into your VPN software, you are given access to servers in various locations around the globe.
So… what then?
What Does a VPN Actually Do?
At its core, a VPN allows for special kinds of access. Here are a few examples:
Gaining access to your company’s network
If you’ve ever worked at a large enough company, you probably know that the company’s VPN software permits you to access the company’s network… even if you’re at home or away from the office. By being virtually on the company’s network, you gain access to company servers, information, printers, and more. For most of us, VPNs have made remote work during the pandemic possible.
Preventing your ISP from viewing where you surf
Even in countries like The United States, your Internet Service Provider (also called an “ISP”) has the ability to track what you do online. Not only…