Data driven. Versatile.
Marketing with style
and substance. Show me more...
engaging and compelling
video since your wedding
tape. It was beautiful.
We’re not crying.
You’re crying. Show me more...
and innovative designs
outside the box.
Actually, there is no box.
Or is there…? Show me more...
the ground up.
Absolutely no hacking
required. Show me more...
Virtual Private Networks (VPN): Your Latest Tool In The Battle For Online Privacy?
If you’ve been on the internet for five minutes, or ever seen a sponsored video, you’ve probably heard the term VPN: a virtual private network.
So…what’s all the fuss all about?
While the internet has no shortage of visible threats- viruses, malware and similar nasties- there are threats that can’t be picked up by the untrained eye.
These attacks often come in the form of identity and information theft, but there are ways you can prevent yourself from being targeted online.
One of the most popular methods? Use a VPN.
What’s a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to connect your computer, smartphone or tablet to another server, essentially allowing you to browse the internet using a different connection than your own.
If the server that you are connected to is located in another country, it will appear to websites that you are browsing locally, even though you might be on the other side of the planet.
How does it help me?
While most people nowadays use a VPN for getting past geographic restrictions to watch content in other countries, they’re also useful for keeping yourself safe online.
A VPN is able to keep you secure online in a number of ways:
- By redirecting your internet traffic and disguising where your PC, smartphone or table is when it connects to other websites. This adds an extra layer of privacy, as websites or other malicious attackers can’t pinpoint your location.
- Encrypting information that you send across the internet. This will ensure that your private information- such as online payment details and browsing history- is not accessible by anyone that isn’t you, and this includes your internet service provider.
How do I find the right VPN for me?
With how popular VPNs are now, there’s no shortage of options. When deciding on what VPN to use there a few things to consider:
Internet connection speeds can vary from each VPN provider. Depending on your usage, you should be able to find a VPN provider that’s suitable for your needs, whether you’re on lightning-fast NBN or something more old fashioned.
Depth of features available
Some VPN providers offer more advanced features and allow you to tweak certain settings. These are mainly for those users who are more tech savvy and want more control over their VPN service.
VPNs can either be costly, or budget friendly. Paying extra can give you more features, but most VPNs tend to use the same methods, so most people won’t need anything too pricey.
Location of the VPN company
Depending on where the VPN provider is located, there may be laws in place that force them to hand over user data in certain circumstances. It’s best to choose a VPN provider in a country that has no such laws, such as in Switzerland.
What are some VPN providers that come recommended?
Looking for the right VPN can be a bit confusing at the beginning. If you’re set on using a VPN service, here are some of the better-known options:
- Express VPN: Offers users fast VPN servers in over 90+ countries, provides enterprise-level encryption and is easy to run on almost any device or platform. They also have a clear no-logging policy, to make sure your data stays yours.
- NordVPN: Another popular VPN service, with a similar offering to Express VPN. More budget friendly, although connection speeds won’t be quite as swift.
- Surfshark: A very budget friendly option, offering some of the best prices compared to the rest of the competition. Offers excellent unblocking on sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as data encryption, but lacks the connection speed that ExpressVPN or NordVPN have on offer.
So…do *I* need a VPN?
Here are some expert opinions from SBM’s own Development team.
We asked some of SBM’s own expert developers what they thought of VPNs. Here’s what they said:
“Some research is required before jumping into using a VPN. VPNs can increase your ping and bandwidth costs, slowing down your connection, but there are benefits.
It means that your IP address doesn’t report you as the user, so large companies that collect data will not be able to record your location. This comes in handy for those in the tech world in particular.”
“Privacy is probably the main reason to use one (along with watching Netflix in different regions), but privacy by itself isn’t a big enough concern to warrant the cost of a VPN.
They’re not the bulletproof solution that people think they are, so you can’t exactly go crazy like a hackerman and think “I’m safe behind this VPN”.
Overall, overconfidence in the VPN is my concern; they have their uses, but you can’t expect them to be a total catch-all solution.”
“For the average person, I’d only recommend using them in public network areas where a secure network is not always possible; at work, in a cafe etc.
The biggest drawback to using a VPN is speed: most gamers can’t use them due to bandwidth issues.
VPNs are really just another layer of abstraction, like using another person’s computer instead of your own. The VPN makes a request on your behalf, and provides an often secure connection to the target server, encrypting your data – but only if you’ve chosen a reputable provider.”
Still concerned about your online privacy?
Keeping your data safe can be a massive concern for business owners.
If you’re looking for some expert advice on privacy, online security or building a secure website, send us a message and we’ll put you in touch with the right expert for the job!