What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that allows users to establish a secure and private connection through the internet. When you connect to a VPN server, your device sends all its network traffic through an encrypted tunnel to the server, which then routes it to the internet on your behalf. This means that your online activities are shielded from prying eyes, such as hackers, ISPs, and government agencies. Additionally, by masking your IP address with that of the VPN server's location, you can also bypass geographical restrictions and access content that might otherwise be unavailable in your region. Overall, a VPN is an essential tool for anyone who values privacy and security online.

Why Are VPNs Important?

VPNs used to be important for two key security areas and this limiting factor has lead to their redundancy and the need for Enterprise and Corporate IT teams to replace their legacy VPN network infrastructure. See our list of best VPNs.

What does a VPN do?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) enables an internet user to work privately without having their session tracked by third-parties or cybercriminals. It ensures online privacy while protecting financial data, such as bank and credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical information, classified government data, and more. VPNs work as a shield to protect user information from being stolen.

VPNs were Protecting people's privacy

VPNs can encrypt your data and hide your IP address from your internet service provider (ISP), government agencies, hackers, and other third parties who may want to monitor or track your online activities. This way, you can browse the web anonymously and securely without worrying about your personal information being exposed or stolen.

VPNS prevented Users from Accessing blocked or restricted content

VPNs can help you bypass censorship and geo-restrictions that may prevent you from accessing certain websites, apps, or services in your location or in other countries. For example, you can use a VPN to watch Netflix shows that are not available in your region or to access social media platforms that are banned in some countries. This way, you can enjoy more freedom and diversity on the internet and access the content you want.

What does VPN stand for?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A Virtual Private Network is a tool used to browse the internet anonymously so that companies and cybercriminals cannot track or locate you and steal private information. VPNs disguise a user’s online identity by creating a private “tunnel” for internet browsing that is safe and secure.

How do you pronounce VPN?

Spelled phonetically, VPN is pronounced "VEE-PEE-ENN"

Enhancing your security

VPNs can protect you from cyberattacks and identity theft when you use public or shared Wi-Fi networks, which may be vulnerable to hacking or snooping. VPNs can also prevent your ISP from throttling your bandwidth or speed based on your online activities. This way, you can improve your online experience and performance and avoid any unwanted interruptions or slowdowns.

How does A VPN work?

A VPN works by re-routing all your web traffic and searches through a secure tunnel to a gateway or server. It hides your actual IP address by using proxy servers so that the owner of any site you’re visiting can’t track you. Rather than seeing your specific IP address, all they can determine is that your visit came from one of several VPN routers, which are untraceable.

Types of VPN

There are four (4) types of Virtual Private Network (VPN):

  • Personal VPN services
  • Remote access VPNs
  • Mobile VPNs
  • Site-to-site VPNs

Personal VPN Services are typically used by home users to secure their network traffic when on public Wi-Fi networks or to make them appear in a different location so they can have access to content. For example, the UKs BBC iPlayer can only be streamed on devices with a UK IP address, a service such as NordVPN provides users outside of the UK with a UK IP address so they can watch the content even though it may not be licensed for use outside of the UK.

Companies use remote access VPNs to provide secure and controlled access to their internal network resources for employees who are working from outside the office. By using a remote access VPN, employees can connect to the company's network as if they were physically present in the office, allowing them to access files, applications, and other resources that they need to do their job. This not only enables greater flexibility in terms of where and when work can be done but also ensures that sensitive company data remains protected by encrypting all traffic flowing between the employee's device and the company's network.

Mobile VPNs are VPN services that are designed specifically for use on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They provide the same benefits as traditional VPNs, such as encrypting all traffic flowing between the device and the internet to protect against hackers and other threats. 

Site-to-site VPNs are a type of VPN that connect two or more networks together over the internet. They are commonly used by businesses to securely connect their different office locations and allow employees to access resources across these locations as if they were all on the same network. Site-to-site VPNs work by encrypting all traffic between the networks, ensuring that sensitive data remains protected from prying eyes.

While VPNs are great for securing internet traffic, they can also cause problems with slowing down network traffic and causing bottlenecks. This is because all data being transmitted through a VPN must first be encrypted and then decrypted at the other end, which can add significant overhead to the transmission process. Additionally, if multiple users are accessing the same VPN server at once, it can lead to congestion and slower speeds for all users. +

VPN Hairpinning

VPN hair pinning is a common issue that occurs when traffic from a remote user is routed back through a VPN server or concentrator that is far away from the end application or network for which access is needed. VPN hair pinning has become a bigger problem as organizations use more SaaS applications. It involves routing traffic from the user's device to the corporate network, then back out to the internet, and finally back to the SaaS application. This leads to slower VPN performance and increased network congestion, especially as more users access these applications remotely. As more organizations rely on SaaS apps for their day-to-day operations, it's important to consider alternative security solutions that don't rely on hair pinning traffic through a VPN concentrator or ZTNA PoP.

Hybrid Access-as-a-Service

IT Departments today need to provide remote access to employees that is like an in-office experience, both secure and highly available. CloudBrink delivers this by providing Zero-Trust Access that is highly secure, removes all hairpins, and is faster than direct access. Unlike VPN and ZTNA which slow down application performance and network connections, Cloudbrinks Hybrid Access as a Service accelerates apps and networks. Cloudbrinks service uses preemptive and accelerated packet recovery,  Machine Learning and hundreds of FAST edges to optimize traffic flow, detect and route around potential bottlenecks, providing faster routes, less packet drops and delivering secure, high-performance connectivity to the hybrid workforce.