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What is a VPN?

Cyber Security | January 25, 2022
VPN on laptop

Over the past few years of working in a remote or hybrid office environment, you have likely seen a few ads for products known as a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN is one of the easiest and most effective methods of protecting a user’s internet traffic history, private data, and identity when using the internet. When using a VPN, a user’s internet traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel that no one can see into, keeping this data safe from hackers and internet service providers (ISPs). As leading providers of complete cybersecurity services, the team at Next Hop Solutions knows how valuable a VPN can be for individuals and businesses. That is why we have compiled some information to help you understand what a VPN is, how it works, and the benefits it can provide.

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How does a VPN Work?

To understand how a VPN works, it is important to understand how your internet connection operates without one.

Without a VPN

When you access a website without a VPN, you are being connected to that site through your internet service provider. The ISP assigns you a unique IP address that can be used to identify you to the website. Since your ISP is handling and directing all your traffic, it can see which websites you visit, linking and identifying activities based on your IP address.

With a VPN

When you connect to the internet with a VPN, your device establishes a secure connection with a VPN server. While your traffic still passes through your ISP, they can no longer read it or see its destination and the websites you visit can no longer see your original IP address. Instead, they can only see the IP address of the VPN server, which is shared by many other users and changes regularly.

What are the Benefits of Using a VPN?

A high-quality VPN offers the following benefits for all types of users:

Protecting Your Privacy

Changing your IP address with a VPN helps shield your identity from websites, apps, and services that want to track you, collect your personal data, and sell it. Quality VPNs also prevent your internet provider and mobile carrier from seeing your activity thanks to a layer of strong encryption, allowing your private data to stay private.

Enhanced Security

Using a VPN protects you from security breaches in many forms. This includes packet sniffing, rogue Wi-Fi networks, and cybercriminal attacks. Travelers, remote workers, and other individuals should use a VPN whenever they’re on an untrusted network like free public Wi-Fi to ensure that they stay safe from each of these threats.

To learn more about our cybersecurity services or managed IT services, get in touch with the team at Next Hop Solutions. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.


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