laptop security

What is a VPN?

What is a VPN? The acronym "VPN" stands for Virtual Private Network, on that there is no disagreement, but what is a Virtual Private Network? Nearly every IT vendor or consultant claims to have a VPN or VPN expertise and all CIO's have deployed at least one VPN. They are all on safe ground because there is so little agreement on what a VPN actually is.

what is a VPN

Rather than throw another definition in the ring it's probably more useful to identify a few features that nearly everyone agrees characterize a VPN and are found on VPN requirements lists.

  1. Wiring: VPNs operate across existing public and private networks. They don't require dedicated cabling or wiring.

  2. Distance: VPNs are not local networks. Distance is an essential feaure.

  3. Restricted access: VPNs are private. Membership is required.

  4. Security: non-members are blocked by mechanisms including encryption and authentication.

  5. Tunneling: VPNs operate across or through existing networks by transporting data through a logical or virtual tunnel that is intended to be invisible to non-members.

Why have a VPN?

It's a question that's no less important than "What is a VPN?"

  1. Cost: VPNs are often cheaper to operate than alternative solutions whether private leased lines or dial up connections. The cost comparisons tend to become more favorable as network size and the number of locations increase.

  2. Mobility: a VPN client can connect to a network in minutes from nearly anywhere in the world.

  3. Security: the ability to communicate with relative security across the internet. A vital component of any corporate laptop security strategy.

  4. Scalability: compared with other technologies VPNs are very scalable.

  5. Easy to use: ideal for mobile employees who need to hook into a corporate network from a hotel, airport or wherever.

  6. Hacking: as a consequence of increased security and invisibility they are popular as a defense against hackers.

Who uses VPN's?

  1. Corporations.

  2. Universities and colleges.

Very few individuals or home businesses use a VPN. That could well change with the evolution of current VPN technologies and the commercialization of some highly effective free VPN options.

Surf The Internet At Work?


Windows and other software programs store history about the different activities that you have performed on your computer and on the Internet. This information is stored in the system areas of your hard disk and the built-in Windows functions like 'Clear History' offer little protection as they can only partially delete this data. Anyone can take a look at your history and find out what you have been doing on your computer, and this raises serious privacy concerns.

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