5 Key Criteria for Selecting the VPN that Best Fits Your Needs
Simply put, a VPN or "virtual private network," is a type of network that is used in conjunction with a normal public network, with the most prominent example being the Internet. VPNs have a large number of benefits over traditional network connections including increased functionality, more versatile management policies and heightened security.
The security benefit is one of the main reasons why business and personal users all over the world employ the services of these types of connections. When researching virtual private network providers to find one to go with, there are a few key things to remember to insure that you are spending your hard earned money in the right place.
Determine Your Standard Internet Usage Habits
Before you can determine the best virtual private network for your needs, sit down and determine exactly what those needs are. If you’re a business user, for example, you’ll need a VPN that is capable of connecting your home machine to your work’s intranet network. If you share a large number of files online or are just concerned about personal information getting onto the Internet, you’ll need a VPN that provides you with security measures to protect your identity.
Virtual private network protocols come in many different forms depending on exactly what a network was intended to do. While all of the various protocols will provide you with a secure connection, some are more vulnerable than others. PPTP protocols, for example, have a number of vulnerabilities that would make them unattractive to business users. Users who just want to protect their anonymity while they surf the Internet likely won’t be bothered.
Part of the point of signing up for a virtual private network is the assurance that the information you send and receive from the Internet will be kept private. If the VPN service that you choose keeps a log of all your activities, those logs could potentially be subpoenaed by a government agency. Find out exactly what a company’s logging practices are before you enter into a service agreement. Companies are not required to log your usage habits by the government, but many do and in turn can potentially make you vulnerable.
Research Security Features
When talking about a virtual private network, it is important to realize that security features and privacy features are not the same thing. While privacy features protect your identity while online, security features include factors like antivirus, antimalware and antispyware protection. Certain types of VPN services bundle together their product with real-time intrusion detection programs that will scan files as you download them. If you try to accidentally download a virus or other type of malicious piece of software, you will be alerted before the infected file can reach your hard drive.
Research the Price
The price of a virtual private network will affect a great number of things regarding how the service actually operates. Free services may be convenient, but they also might be advertisement supported and lack features like antivirus protection. VPN services that charge will likely have all the features you need, but you’ll have to pay for those features on a monthly or yearly basis.