You’ve heard the advice before: Whether you’re in the office or on the road, a VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself on the internet. But how effective are VPNs? What’s the best one for you? What are the downsides? A new ZDNet executive guide aims to answer all your VPN-related questions — including a few you probably haven’t thought about before.
VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network. The purpose of a VPN is to provide you with security and privacy as you communicate over the internet. Here’s the problem with the internet: It’s inherently insecure. When the internet was first designed, the priority was to be able to send packets (chunks of data) as reliably as possible. Most of the internet’s core protocols (methods of communicating) were designed to route around failure, rather than secure data. In fact, the applications you’re accustomed to using, are all built on top of that Internet Protocol (IP) core. A VPN creates a private tunnel over the open internet. The idea is that everything you send is encapsulated in this private communications channel and encrypted so — even if your packets are intercepted — they can’t be deciphered. VPNs are very powerful and important tools to protect yourself and your data, but they do have limitations.
Read more about what VPNs are, how they work, when you should use them, what is the best way to choose a VPN service, and much more on ZDNet.