Weighing up the Pros and Cons of VPN

Blog / Weighing up the Pros and Cons of VPN

Weighing up the Pros and Cons of VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way for organisations and individuals to upgrade their online security. With an encrypted connection to the internet, a VPN filters all your traffic through a network server, hiding your online activities from potential cyber criminals as well as your Internet Service Provider (ISP). 

While a VPN provides a variety of benefits, it isn’t a perfect solution. There are trade-offs and even though you will gain anonymity and have an added layer of safety, there are some things that you will not be told when searching for a VPN provider, such as the logging of your activity to sell to third parties or slower internet speeds. Let's explore some of the pros and cons of VPN’s before deciding whether it is the right choice for you.  

Pro: Security 

When you are online, your data goes through various servers all around the globe. Whether you are checking your emails or logging in to online banking, information such as your passwords and bank statements are being transferred between different servers without an encrypted connection. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), cyber criminals, or even government agencies could potentially be using your data for malicious purposes.  

With a VPN, all your online activity is protected through end to end encryption, shielding you from the prying eyes of those intent on doing you harm. Cybercriminals will try to break through VPN security measures, especially with unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. Finding a trusted VPN that uses AES-256 encryption can help to prevent that, an AWS-256 is a symmetric key cipher. This means that the same key is used in both the encryption and decryption process. 

Con: Activity Logs 

Depending on the region you live in, it may be a legal requirement for your VPN provider to keep activity logs of your internet traffic. There are also VPN services that maintain records purely for their own financial gain and sell those logs to third parties. It’s important that you find out whether or not a provider will keep activity logs and what they will be used for. 

Pro: Privacy 

Though the sale of an individual's personal data is usually illegal, some ISP’s may try to sell that data and there are plenty of organisations out there that are more than willing to pay a large sum for it. There are also organisations out there dedicated to data mining your activities. However, with a VPN you have a digital cloaking device whenever you are online. Once connected to a VPN you get your own private lane to browse the web at your leisure; the sites you visit will see the traffic but instead of your activity being tied to your IP address, you will be an anonymous user and any activity will appear as traffic from your VPN server.  

Con: Low Quality or Free VPN’s 

When it comes to any type of cyber security, you really do get what you pay for. In the case of free VPN’s, it would seem that certain service providers have a conflict of interest when providing secure internet connections. Due to being a free service, they have to generate revenue somehow and often that involves selling your information or activity logs to third parties. 

To top that off, free or low quality VPN’s do not offer the necessary encryption needed to keep your data safe. If you decide to use a VPN that is not configured with the proper encryption protocols, you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to cyber criminals who know how to break into the network. 

Pro: Lower Support Costs 

Using a VPN can reduce the costs on your IT team; using a VPN will significantly reduce the risk of cyber attacks that require your IP address or access to your online data. Your VPN provider will handle the maintenance of the service while ensuring compliance and encrypted security standards for your organisation. 

Con: Blacklisting of Shared IP Addresses 

A shared IP address reuses IP addresses and assigns them to users as they log in to a VPN server. Shared IP addresses can give you a secure connection to the internet and protect you from cyber attacks but if too many IP addresses are shared they can overload a domain name system (DNS), leading to the IP address being blacklisted.  

When an IP address is blacklisted, you will usually be asked to complete a CAPTCHA check to verify that you are not a bot; however, some sites will restrict your access completely. Between constant verification checks and disconnecting from your VPN to access certain sites, it can cause significant delays as well as disruptions that can leave you vulnerable to security breaches. 

What Can Securiwiser Do for You? 

Securiwiser runs comprehensive and continuous scans of your devices, network, and website to monitor the security posture of your business. Should a breach of any kind be detected, you’ll be notified immediately and a full report will be compiled for you, detailing the findings. You’ll be told where to get help to remedy the problem or how to rectify it yourself if possible. Also, each aspect of your security will be graded based on how well it is performing so you’ll always know what needs attention.

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