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Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): What They Are and How They Work

Updated: Feb 23

Communication privacy is more critical than ever in this age of rapid technological advancement, hacking, and identity theft. Organizations large and small, and even individuals and entrepreneurs, have a critical need for business and personal information security to protect intellectual property, research and development data, personal and financial records, and other confidential and proprietary information. Transmission of files should not be left to chance interception over public, unprotected networks. This is where Virtual Private Networks come in.

What is a Virtual Private Network?

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is designed to create a secure connection environment between your computer device and a network. A VPN uses encryption technology to create a privacy and anonymity barrier between you and would-be intruders, thus preventing your online activities from being seen, monitored, or interfered with by others. In order to operate online with a better assurance of safety, you should log in to your VPN – from that point all your work will take place within the protected environment and no one else can see what you’re doing.

If you use a public network, such as the ones offered by internet cafés or the network in the hotel where you’re staying, your activity is at significant risk of being exposed to cybercriminals. The free public wi-fi provided in public spaces may not be the actual wi-fi that you connect to when you sign on. You may inadvertently log on to a hacker's network instead and thus expose all your online activity, passwords, accounts, etc., during your session.

virtual private network - picture of satellite showing communications

How VPNs Protect Your Data

A VPN is exactly as it’s described – a network that is both virtual (remotely operational) and private (not open to public view). The VPN is self-contained on servers under the management of one service provider, not shared with other providers and not shared across outside servers. Logging in to a VPN allows you to access the Internet through the private, protected path controlled by your VPN's remote server which processes and transmits your information, acting as a go-between and guardian to transfer your data between sites, blocking any outside interception, monitoring, tampering, or data theft.

Advantages of a VPN

VPN service offers a number of advantages for online users:

  • VPNs hide your browser and search history so no one can monitor or collect data on the sites you’re visiting.

  • VPNs hide your physical location and IP address. With the VPN acting as a go-between in transferring your data, the source or location of the data appears to originate from the protected VPN and you are unseen by outside observers.

  • VPNs hide your activity while you are working online since all activities are contained within the network.

  • VPNs hide the actual device you are using which helps to deter monitoring and tampering.

Qualities of the Best VPNs

Quality VPN service providers use the most advanced encryption processes available to protect you by scrambling your data and making it indecipherable by others. VPNs can operate on servers stationed world-wide to ensure optimum processing speed and no degradation of internet connection quality from wherever in the world you log on, making secure access from disparate locations possible. VPNs can also provide protection for any of the various devices you use to communicate online – desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.

To find the best in VPN services, look for a provider that instills trust in a platform built upon strong encryption technology while also providing a satisfying user experience. Remember also that while no service can fully guarantee it is hack-proof, VPNs can offer a viable opportunity to implement secure processing.

And, although not marketed as a VPN, note that Gold Comet solutions operate in much the same way as a VPN, processing your data storage, data sharing, and messaging within the protective environment of the Gold Comet Secure Cloud. In fact, you should contact Gold Comet today to discuss your information privacy needs. You may discover that a Gold Comet solution is just the right fit for your situation.


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