Millions of Americans have been spending more time at home recently and chances are you reading this have as well. Some of you may have been fortunate enough to be able to do your job from home and have not been completely out of luck when it comes to employment during this COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve been working from home, and even if you haven’t and are just fiddling the days away on the Internet, your Internet connection has seen more traffic than usual as you also conduct your day to day business over it and your cyber security has never been more important than now. Have you considered using a VPN?

Millions of Amercians have and you should too.

What Is A VPN?

There is a good chance that you have at least heard the term VPN but you probably don’t really understand what it is or how it works. You might have heard stories of users in authoritarian countries using one to bypass their country’s Internet restrictions like with the Great Firewall of China.

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network and for the most part it is very simple. When you access a website you connect through your ISP and all of your traffic passes through their servers which means that they can see everything that you do. Some information like passwords and payment information is encrypted and cannot be read but your day to day goings on are there for all to see. What they do with that information is up to them but many hand it over to advertisers to make a few extra bucks or they might hand it over to government agencies to do who knows what with it.

A VPN redirects your connection through a remote server. This allows your IP address to remain hidden and it also encrypts all of the data that you send and receive. That extra encryption comes in handy for anyone who accesses the Internet, especially if they do it through an open connection like at your local coffee shop (when you can visit there again). Think of all of the services that you use (and log into) while sitting down to enjoy that coffee. It’s more than just your Facebook and Twitter account.

Lock Sensitive Information

Now, think of all of your company’s information that is passing through your ISP as you sit at home in semi-quarantine. That is passwords to sensitive accounts, potentially sensitive information about employees or customers, private material about projects and other business and much more. Maybe even your tax information as you file electronically. That needs to be secured and to do that VPN usage has skyrocketed during the quarantine from COVID-19.

VPN usage has exploded according to the popular VPN service NordVPN. Usage of their service in the Netherlands, Austria and Canada has increased over 200% while France, Denmark and Belgium are right behind. The US lags behind though with only a 66% increase. Considering that the United States is a magnet for cyber crime our reluctance to use a product like this may be a part of the problem.

Security Is Always The Best Policy

The COVID-19 situation is far from resolved which means you may be working from home much more than you are used to now and in the future. Of course you may be able to return to work and who knows, you might not quite look at it the same way ever again but there is a chance that COVID-19 may force us all back into our homes as the year drags on and new outbreaks occur.

Chances are that your neighbors are not snooping around your network and corporate rivals are not sitting outside of your house trying to steal your login information but you do put a lot of just your personal information online. That information is valuable to cyber criminals and just imagine what your company’s information would be worth? Data breaches have become an everyday thing it seems but ask anyone who has had to deal with the fallout of one and it is not a fun experience. Protecting your data and your company’s data should be your top priority and a VPN can help you do just that.

Your company might have provided a VPN for you to use but if they haven’t these are not expensive services to use. There are even many free ones, though you will get a better experience with a paid one. Many paid VPNs offer free trials and here is a list of some of the top VPN services in the US. With a free trial, what do you have to lose? Protect your information and use a VPN!

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