A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is the best way to keep yourself safe on the internet now that you’re working from home. But getting a VPN and not securing it is like buying a tamper-proof safe and giving the combination to anyone who makes eye contact with you for more than five seconds.
Yes, VPNs are great. They shield your browsing data from prying eyes, cloak how much of your internet data you’re really using, let you access location-barred content and even remotely access your work computer from home.
But to truly get the most out of your VPN, you have to go one step further: You need to protect your VPN. In this guide, we’re sharing five important tips for you to protect your VPN while you work from home. (If you have your own business, these tips are also great for passing on to your team.)
5 tips to secure your VPN:
1. Choose a Virtual Private Network from a reputable seller
Some disreputable companies lure you in with free products, only to sell your information to the highest bidder. This cancels out the security benefits of buying a VPN in the first place.
So, choose a VPN seller that offers top-notch, military-grade security with high-speed internet and stealth mode options.
2. Combine your VPN with other internet security measures
A VPN works best when used as part of a general system of internet security. This is especially true if you have a website or if your company has a website that you frequently connect to.
To truly protect any personal information that you enter into those websites (or that your visitors enter into them), you’ll need two main services: VPS hosting and SSL certificates.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is like dedicated hosting in that you get your own private server, which means your website isn’t at risk of being blacklisted or hacked because of the poor security measures of other websites on the server. But VPS hosting carries a much lower price tag than dedicated hosting, which makes it ideal for smaller businesses and websites that still need more security than you’d typically get with shared hosting.
And SSL certificates encrypt any data that’s entered into your website. These are crucial, especially on pages that collect login information or sensitive data like credit card info.
3. Use powerful authentication
Ideally, your VPN should use multi-factor authentication. This means that in addition to entering a password, anyone trying to access your VPN should also be required to offer some other proof of identity. This could be as simple as an automatically generated four-digit code that’s sent to their phone whenever they try to access your network.
But even if you don’t use multi-factor authentication, at the very least, you need to use a password for your VPN. And considering how important it is to keep your VPN secure, you want to make sure that your password is strong. (This means no birthdays of people you love, no favorite book series, and no pets you had as a child.)
4. Make sure everyone uses firewalls and an antivirus
To save yourself some heartache later, you could just require everyone with access to your VPN to install a particular brand of software that you trust. You could even install the software on their devices for them. But whatever you do, make sure everyone who uses your VPN has an up-to-date antivirus installed on all the devices they’ll be using with it.
You also need to make sure they use firewalls, so there’s an added layer of protection.
5. Don’t allow just anybody to access your VPN.
Just as you wouldn’t give everybody the PIN to your bank account, you also shouldn’t give everybody access to your private network. Other than you, the only people with access to your VPN should be people you absolutely trust. If you have your own business, this means that as soon as someone from your company gets let go, you should also immediately block them from accessing your VPN. In fact, do this before you let them go. And never give people access to your private network if you don’t know them well.
Remember: If someone with bad intentions gains access to your VPN, they could sink you. So, either make sure you’re the only person who can access it, or make sure the only people with access are people you absolutely trust.
A VPN is a powerful way to keep yourself and your company safe on the internet. But to get the most out of your private network, make sure you follow the five safety tips in this guide!