Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections are fairly common at work these days. If you travel for business, or work from home, there’s a very good chance that your connection back to the office is protected by a VPN.

The VPN acts like a secure tunnel between your computer and the remote system. Data passing along that tunnel is encrypted to prevent hackers stealing sensitive information as it passes over the Internet.

Protecting business data using a VPN makes sense, but they can be used for your personal connections too. And there’s some very good reasons for doing so.

Good reasons for using a VPN service

1. Protecting your personal information

VPN connections are similar to the SSL protection offered by ecommerce websites to encrypt information like credit card numbers and passwords – but what about sites that don’t use SSL? Any information sent between your computer and a website without encryption could be intercepted by hackers.

Using a VPN service all of your Internet traffic is encrypted , which makes it much harder for thieves to steal. A VPN service is a great way to protect against identity theft, fraud and other online scams.

2. Blocking ads

For many people, online advertising is out of control. Media-rich adverts make surfing the web slow and painful – particularly on mobile devices. There are also serious concerns about ad tracking, the information being gathered by advertisers, and how that data is being used (or who it is being sold to).

A VPN connection helps to anonymise your activities, making it much harder for advertisers to track you online.

3. Unlocking international Netflix (or other streaming services)

Streaming websites like Netflix, BT Sport and Sky use geolocation technology to detect where you are accessing their service from. If you go on holiday abroad, these apps will stop working because you’ve left your home country.

Video streaming services have to implement these blocks to comply with their contractual agreements – but it’s very annoying for anyone unable to use their paid-for subscription. Fortunately VPNs provide a solution.

When using VPN, the geolocation services cannot detect where you actually are. So if you pick a VPN service based in the same country as your subscription, you will be able to watch video from anywhere in the world.

VPNs – An important safeguard

Because modern cybercrime is so sophisticated, you may need several tools to protect yourself. Your router and antivirus software offer protection for data stored on your home computers – but what about information as it leaves the network?

Using a VPN service, you can encrypt all of your web traffic so hackers cannot access it. A VPN service offers the same protections for your phone and tablet when you are outside the house too.

And remember, VPNs are not just for security either. The ability to hide your location is incredibly useful when using location-specific streaming services. And you will also find it much easier to access websites in your language as you travel too.

So, is it time that you started using a VPN at home?

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