What Is A VPN?
VPN software safeguards your data by masking your device’s IP address. The software encrypts your data and sends it via secure networks to servers in other states or countries. A VPN conceals your online identity, allowing you to surf the web anonymously.

What Do VPNs Do?
A VPN, in essence, provides an encrypted server and conceals your IP address from corporations, government agencies, and would-be hackers. A VPN secures your identity even if you use public or shared Wi-Fi, and it keeps your data hidden from prying internet eyes.

Instead of forwarding your internet connection to a hosted server, a VPN bypasses your personal ISP. With servers positioned all over the world, users may “relocate” themselves and access the internet from almost anyplace. Encryption gives an added degree of security, especially for firms that use remote access frequently. It can also be useful for traveling, gaming, and streaming.

Why Do You Need a VPN?
Now that you know what a VPN is, here’s a closer look at why you might need a VPN:

1. Public Wi-Fi security
The convenience of public Wi-Fi comes at the expense of security. Someone may be monitoring your online behavior when you’re answering emails at a local coffee shop or looking through social media at the airport.
Using a VPN safeguards your data when you are connected to other networks, concealing your browser history, financial information, account passwords, and other sensitive information from malicious internet strangers.

2. Data Privacy From Your Internet Service Provider
When using your home Wi-Fi, you are less likely to be attacked by strangers than when using a public connection. Your data, however, remains vulnerable.
Your ISP or internet service provider—Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, or any other provider for which you pay a monthly fee for Wi-Fi—can access all of your internet data. Your internet service provider may know when, when, and how you surf.
Even if you use the “private” browsing mode, this data can be gathered and sold to advertisers, and it can be harmful in the wrong hands in the event of a data breach. A VPN can assist in masking your IP address from your ISP.

3. Data Privacy From All Apps and Services You Use
Your internet service provider isn’t the only potential liability you’ve brought into your home. Unfortunately, several of our favorite apps and online services, most notably Facebook, have been chastised for how they have utilized their customers’ data.
A VPN prevents apps and websites from associating your actions with your computer’s IP address. It also has the ability to limit the gathering of your location and browsing history.

4. Data Privacy From Your Government
While many ISPs, applications, and internet data hubs claim not to sell your surfing data to governments, the information does find its way into their hands—even in the United States.
Americans have been increasingly conscious of the various ways the government surveils and acquires their data since 2013, when Edward Snowden first revealed that Verizon had been selling users’ internet and phone data to the NSA. Following the Snowden leaks and ensuing anger, many legislation were passed to limit government spying.
However, according to the New York Times, as recently as January of this year, the Defense Intelligence Agency circumvented a statute requiring government agencies to get warrants before pressing phone companies for user data by paying third-party data brokers for the same data. If you are concerned about governmental overreach, a VPN is a solid investment in data protection.

5. Access to Any Content in Any Place
While Hulu may frown upon your use of a VPN to watch the current Criminal Minds episode in a region where the content is not available, this VPN usage is not illegal (in the United States and most other countries), and it provides a valuable workaround to content limitations.
VPNs spoof your location, making it appear as if you are online from somewhere else. That means you can watch Criminal Minds even if it isn’t available in your area.

6. Security When Working Remotely
One advantage of a VPN is its data encryption capabilities. Encryption, or putting data into a coded format that obscures its meaning, helps you to keep confidential information secure.
If you are an individual considering purchasing a VPN for your business, one advantage is that employees can connect to your workplace network and view confidential data on their own devices while away from the office. As remote work appears to be a possibility even after the pandemic is over, a VPN is a worthwhile investment to keep sensitive information secure off-site.

8. Adaptable to Numerous Smart Devices
While many of us may initially try a VPN on a company-loaned laptop, many VPN services will also protect your phones, tablets, and desktop computers. Each VPN provider may provide somewhat different protection plans and capacity to cover different devices, but many offer solutions that assist keep you safe on many devices.

7. Smart Savings
If you are prepared to do some research, a VPN can help you save money by disguising your location. Many organizations, including subscription services and airlines, provide the same perks or products at varying costs. You can save a lot of money if you modify the appearance of your location to an area where services are cheaper.