Virtual private networks (VPNs) aren’t used exclusively by consumers. Many businesses use them as well. One of the most common reasons businesses use a VPN is to protect against cyber threats. Business owners believe that using a VPN will reduce the risk of malware, viruses, data breaches and other cyber threats. So, can a VPN really protect your business from cyber threats?

What Is a VPN?

A VPN is a tunneling service that’s designed to create a private and secure network over a public network, such as the internet. When you subscribe to a VPN service, you’ll be able to connect to the internet while using a private network. All the traffic going out of and coming into this private network will be encrypted. In other words, the VPN service will create a secure environment in which to browse and use the internet.

The VPN service will essentially mask your Internet Protocol (IP) in the process. Your online activities will still leave a traceable IP address, but it won’t be you or your business’s IP addresses. Rather, all your online activities will show the IP address of the VPN service.

How a VPN Protects Against Cyber Threats

A VPN can protect against cyber threats in several ways, one of which is by encrypting your traffic. Unencrypted traffic is a common risk factor for cyber threats. When using the internet, you’ll send and exchange data with other websites or online apps. If this traffic isn’t encrypted, it may be intercepted by hacker and used for nefarious purposes. A VPN will encrypt your traffic so that this isn’t a concern.

In addition to encrypting your traffic, a VPN will conceal your IP address. Cyber threats can occur if your IP address is exposed. Upon identifying your IP address, a hacker may conduct a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against it. With a DDoS attack, your business’s private network will be overloaded with requests — so much that it may cause take your business’s network offline. By using a VPN, neither hackers nor anyone else will be able to see your IP address.

VPNs and Cyber Threats: What You Should Know

While useful for protecting against cyber threats, a VPN isn’t a foolproof cybersecurity solution. It won’t prevent malware from reaching your computer or any other computers on your business’s network. VPNs aren’t designed to scan for or remove malware. They are simply designed to create a private and secure private network for a public network. You can still use a VPN, but don’t expect it to protect against all cyber threats.

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