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Should You be Using a VPN?
Home Computers & Technology Site Security
By: Mark Thornton Email Article
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You may already know what a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is but are you using one? If youíre not using one, thereís a high likelihood that you really should be using a VPN. When it comes to the reasons why there are a number of them. But before we get into those it would probably be beneficial to review exactly what a VPN is for those of you out there that donít know.

A VPN, according to Wikipedia, is "a technology for using the Internet or another intermediate network to connect computers to isolated remote computer networks that would otherwise be inaccessible." Utilizing a VPN will give a user varying levels of security so that the traffic sent through the connection stays isolated from other computers on the immediate network. They can be used to connect individual users to a remote network or even to connect multiple networks together, depending upon the needs of the user. In doing so it gives users the ability to access resources on remote networks, such as databases, files, or printers. Also, due to the way VPNís function it gives users the impression that they are directly connected to the central network.

One of the most significant things to know about a VPN though is that it secures your computerís Internet connection to guarantee that all of the data youíre sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. This very reason is why VPNís should probably be utilized more often by businesses and their employees. Also, a VPN alone is just a way to reinforce your security and access resources on a network youíre not physically connected to.

So why does all this matter? It matters because there is a growing trend within todayís workforce for employees to work remotely or while on the road. As a result, there are many times when that employee is using a public wifi connection to perform their work which can pose a major security risk depending upon the data being transferred. This security risk occurs because many people donít realize that it isnít too terribly difficult for snoopers to capture that data. So whether itís what youíre writing in your email messages, posting to your Facebook page, or even buying on-line they are able to capture that with any of the readily accessible and easy-to-use programs that are out there.

Meaning that if the employee is sending sensitive and confidential emails at a local cafe shop those emails have a possibility of being intercepted and the sensitive information contained within them being exposed. Thereby potentially putting your business at risk. Which is definitely not a good thing.

Although there are many more good examples for why you should be using a VPN, for the sake of brevity, we wonít get into them. The main purpose or intent, if you will, in discussing the issue of VPNís is to inform you as an employee or you as a business owner of the potential security risks that could already be occurring within your business on a day-to-day level and to make sure that you are fully aware of those risks so that you can take the necessary actions to ensure your business isnít unnecessarily vulnerable.

Mark Thornton is an associate of DKBInnovative an IT consulting firm that specializes in network support in the Dallas, TX area.

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