We simply cannot visualize a life without the internet. Whether we use it for work, entertainment or both, the internet is an integral part of our lives. However, it is a hostile environment if we consider the different types of threats that are lurking in this ecosystem.
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The very elements that make the internet so versatile and flexible make it a safe haven for cyber-attacks. We can’t just stop using the internet due to these threats. The solution is to secure our time over the internet and mitigate the associated risks.
Also Read: Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks
Types of Threats on the Internet
One of the major concerns as we browse over the internet is tracking and saving of our browsing preferences. Unfortunately, almost every stakeholder of the cyber space is a contributor to this problem. Let’s start the process from the top tier which comprises of Internet Service Providers (ISP).
Some of you may be concerned and even alarmed to read that even ISPs track, monitor and save our preferences while browsing the internet. This data is then compiled and sorted into information for various industries and sold to them. This gives valuable insights to companies about what people in their industry are currently looking for.
Now, let’s come over to websites in general and ecommerce sites in particular. They are also doing exactly the same thing as ISPs, but at a relatively small scale. The browsing history is then used by ecommerce fronts to launch targeted promotional campaigns which become a nuisance for most people.
The most unfortunate part of this whole exercise is that vast browsing data is being tracked, collected, compiled, sorted and sold without any express or implied consent of the end user. This data is not sold to just one party, rather one piece of data is sold time and again to any industry remotely related to that data as potential leads.
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How Does a VPN Help?
In theory, a will act as a cloak for you as you browse the internet. It will protect your actual location, identity and browsing history by encrypting all such data. It will further protect you by wiping all your data clean as soon as you end a browsing session.
A VPN provides you with valuable peace of mind as you fearlessly browse the internet. Just like any other service, all VPN solution providers are not equal. If you are looking for a VPN provider, let’s discuss some key features of a quality solution.
Features of a Quality VPN Provider
These are just some of the major characteristics of a quality VPN service provider and in no particular order. You may accord more weight to any factor based on your preference.
It is a major feature of quality VPN providers. Almost every service provider will tick all the right boxes in terms of claimed features and functionality. How can you know before committing your money to a solution that it will deliver on the promise?
Well, there is only one way to find out and that is by trial. Look for VPN providers that offer a decent trial period of at least two weeks, free of charge. Secondly, the trial version should offer nearly full functionality so that you can truly ascertain the features and their relevance to your needs.
A quality VPN solution should not be sluggish. VPNs are designed to circumvent ISPs and for this very reason, a good VPN should liberate you from various bandwidth caps applied by ISPs. Another way to check the performance of your VPN during trial is to assess the quality of video streaming as it is very resource intensive.
A quality VPN should not drop the connection every now and then. A rare disconnection is not a red flag but if your VPN is breaking the connection repeatedly, it’s time to walk away. An unstable connection will greatly deteriorate your user experience and defeat the whole purpose of buying a VPN solution.
A quality VPN provider should give you a wide choice of servers across the globe. This is particularly important if you want to bypass certain geographical restrictions. The selectable servers should not only be quite a few in number, they should also be geographically well disbursed.
Compatibility with Devices and Operating Systems
A good VPN solution should be compatible with multiple devices such as smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop PC. Another part of this feature will be that the VPN solution supports different operating systems (OS). Some key OS to consider should be Windows and MacOS.
This is a relatively advanced feature but getting more common in VPN offerings. Ideally, your VPN provider should support multiple concurrent connections. A minimum of two simultaneous connections should be the benchmark and anything beyond this should be considered a plus.
During configuration and subsequent use, you may run into bottlenecks. A good VPN provider should have a robust customer support round the clock. The support should be available over email, live chat and call. Ideally, they should have a ticket system which ensures that the issue is promptly resolved.
This is not a very reliable gauge for any service but still does matter. Visit the official website or social media platforms of the VPN provider and read the reviews in general. Remember there is one key rule, some reviews will be too good to be true, so only give weight to the balanced reviews and don’t get carried away.
A quality Virtual Private Network (VPN) greatly mitigates risk over the internet. Two key aspects to achieving this goal are to choose the correct service provider and carefully configure your VPN. If you are not an IT person, just stick to the default or recommended settings and everything will be just fine.
In this post, we have highlighted the key features you should look for when prospecting for a VPN provider. These features will greatly help you in choosing the best solution provider among the shortlisted candidates. In today’s hostile internet environment, one can’t stress the importance of a VPN enough.