The use of VPN services has rocketed in popularity over recent years, with more and more individuals and businesses using these services. Many experts now recommend that all people should consider connecting to websites using a Virtual Private Network, as it can make a huge difference in terms of privacy and security.
When you connect to websites through your regular Internet Service Provider, the ISP is able to see exactly which sites you are browsing and what your internet activities are. In addition, you can be easily tracked and monitored by other agencies. However, when you use a VPN all of your data is encrypted, which means that only you and your VPN server can view your internet activities. Your ISP will only know that you are connected to a VPN but won’t be able to check on which sites you connected to through the VPN server. Because VPN servers are located in various countries, you can also easily access content that would normally only be accessible to people in that country. Your IP address will show up as the VPN server IP address, making it look as though you are accessing the internet from the country in question.
In addition to this, VPNs have become a hit amongst businesses because they make remote working far easier by providing safe, reliable access to data. Businesses that have multiple locations or remote workers can therefore safely and efficiently share information without the risk of it being intercepted and used by others.
What you need to set up a VPN
If you are interested in enjoying the various benefits that a VPN can provide, you need to familiarise yourself with the various requirements and components that are necessary to set up a VPN. These will vary between businesses and individuals, so the method you use will depend upon whether you are looking to set up a VPN for your business or for personal use at home or on your mobile device.
What you need to set up a VPN for your business
If you are looking to set up a VPN for your business, there are a number of necessary requirements that you will need to take into consideration. The key things that you will need in order to start benefitting from a VPN service include:
- Client VPN software: You need to make sure you have client VPN software so that your business can benefit from secure remote connections
- Routers and firewalls: You will also need to ensure you have routers and firewalls that are VPN-enabled. This is to ensure that legitimate VPN traffic can get through without any problems
- A VPN appliance: You will need to have a VPN appliance, such as a server, in order for incoming VPN traffic to be handled and managed.
In terms of components, a VPN has two parts. One is called the Network Access Server or NAS and this allows for a connection between the computers or servers you have onsite and your remote workers. The second part is software that provides the ability for your remote workers to put in their details and connect. You may have to install this software if you opt for a third party VPN but many operating systems come with the software already installed.
If your business doesn’t have remote workers and simply wants to connect offices, you can opt for an alternative solution known as a site-to-site VPN. This solution enables you to connect a number of offices together, so your network will cover all of your office locations. You can then benefit from secure data transfers between your various offices through the VPN.
Data security options
The purpose of VPN use is partly to ensure greater data security. There are two different types of security protocols used by VPNs. The first is IPSec, which stands for Internet Protocol Security. This is where the network is secured through encryption systems installed on the router and a programme installed on the PCs or devices of those that need to connect to the network.
The second protocol is called SSL or Secure Socket Layer. This method makes use of a web browser to connect to your server but generally means that the connected is limited to certain applications and files.
There are also two main types of encryption that are used by VPNs in order to encode data to ensure that it is protected. One of these is symmetric-key encryption, which uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt information. The second type of encryption method used is public-key encryption, which uses two different keys for the encryption and decryption of data.
What you need to do in order to set up a VPN for personal use
Many individuals want to benefit from the security and privacy of using a VPN for personal use. This could be on your home PC or your mobile device. Setting up a VPN means that you won’t have to worry about people snooping on your internet activities. If you want to use a VPN for personal purposes, you will need to:
- Find and sign up to a VPN service: You need to compare and research VPN services to find the one that you feel will best suit your needs. Once you have found a service that you feel is suited to your requirements, you then need to sign up to the provider
- Download and install: When you have signed up to the VPN service of your choice via the website, you then need to download and install the app on your PC or device. You can then launch the app
- Choose a server: After opening the app, you need to decide which of the servers you want to connect to. You will be able to view the available servers either in list format or via a map depending on the VPN provider. Remember, the server location you choose is important, as you will be classed as connecting to the internet from that location
- Connect to the server: Once you have selected the most suitable server, you can connect to it. Depending on the provider you use, this is a simple process and you can connect or disable the connection with ease
Once you have done this, you will be ready to use and benefit from a VPN. This means better access to restricted sites, greater privacy and security levels, and peace of mind when you are using the internet.
Whether you are a personal or a business user, you will find that setting up and using a VPN will benefit you hugely. As you can see, the requirements for a business differ from those for a personal user. However, in both cases it is advisable to choose a VPN service that provides ease of use as well as reliability, good support, and affordable pricing.
For business users, it is also worth bearing in mind that as the business expands your VPN requirements may change. However, you can make changes with your existing provider or change to another VPN service so that your VPN services continue to meet your business needs.