What VPN connections are for
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What VPN connections are for

I'm sure with the explanations above you have already imagined a few situations where VPN connections could be useful. It's an open secret that they are especially important in the corporate environment, but their uses don't end there. These are the main uses of VPN connections.

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1. Teleworking

The most obvious use of a VeePN connection is for interconnectivity in networks that are not physically connected, such as workers who are currently out of the office or companies with branches in several cities that need access to a single private network.

From a security point of view, allowing indiscriminate access to a company's own network from the Internet is little less than crazy. Even if the access is password protected, it could be captured at a public WiFi access point or spotted by a malicious observer.

Conversely, the risk decreases if the worker and the company connect via a VPN connection. The access is protected, the connection is predictably encrypted, and the worker has the same access as if he were physically there.

2. Avoiding censorship and geographic content blocking

With the rise of the Internet and the picaresque nature of both content providers and users, other more playful uses of VPN connections have become popular, many of them related to a very simple concept: to fake where you are.

When you connect with VPN, your device communicates with the VPN server, and it is the server that talks to the Internet. If you are in China and the VPN server is in the United States, the web servers will usually think you are browsing from there, letting you access content available only there, such as Netflix.

Similarly, this same logic can be used to access content that was censored or blocked in your country, but not where the VPN server is located. This is how millions of Chinese citizens manage to connect to Facebook and 3,000 other blocked websites in the country.

3. Extra layer of security

Although not strictly necessary, it is common for VPN connections to be accompanied by encryption of the packets transmitted with them, so it is normal to hear the recommendation that if you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi access point, at least use a VPN connection.

Logging into your bank accounts while connected to a public WiFi network that you don't trust is probably not the best idea in the world, as it's relatively easy for a thief to capture the unencrypted packets and take over your user accounts. This is where the extra layer of security you can get via a VPN connection comes in, as the packets would be sent encrypted, so the listener probably couldn't do anything with them.

However, there is small print here, because while you are distrusting the public Wi-Fi network, you are putting all your faith in the VPN server, which can equally capture all your traffic, keep records of what you do or even sell your bandwidth to the highest bidder. A VPN is only as secure and useful as its provider. If you don't trust your VPN, don't use it, because instead of having an extra layer of security, you'll have the enemy at home and watching absolutely everything you do on the Internet.

About the Author

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One
  • Chapter Two
  • Chapter Three

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