This is a guest post by Alexandrea Roman. If you are interested to guest post in this blog, just head over to the Guest Post Guidelines.
Every day, confidential information is sent through the Internet. Have you ever wondered how private communication is kept safe throughout the transmission process in spite of the fact that the Internet is accessible to practically anyone?
The secret lies in Virtual Private Networks. A VPN is a network technology that lets two computers (or two clusters of computers) send each other private data using a public resource like the Internet.
To understand VPNs more clearly, it’s best to look at how computer networking was originally done. [Read: What Are the Different Wireless Network Security Settings? Which One Should I Use?]
Back in the day, computers in a network were connected to one another with telephone wires. A network within a small office used up fewer and shorter phone wires, while a network with computers in different parts of a city had to use more of the longer phone lines. Either way, the connections were physical and tangible.
After a while, phone wires weren’t enough to handle networking demands, especially when transmissions involved bigger chunks of information that needed to travel over greater distances. This was when T-carriers, particularly T3 circuits, came in. A T3 circuit is a telecommunications line that can carry higher volumes of data. If a business or organization wanted a private line set up between two computers, it had to go into contract with a vendor who could lease a T3 circuit. The lessee had exclusive use of that line for as long as the contract lasted, while the lessor ensured the integrity of the T3 circuit. [Read: Types of computer network security]
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As more businesses and organizations sprung up and grew, more phone lines and T3 circuits were used. It didn’t take long for people to realize that the skies would be congested with wires soon. The cost of leasing would also rise up as distances between networked computers grew. It was inconvenient to connect a computer in the United States to a computer in Japan using just phone lines and T3 circuits.
It all changed when the Internet started gaining popularity. Thanks to the Internet, two computers can go online, connect to each other, and exchange data. This kind of connection is no longer physical, but virtual. [Read: How to Manage Your Company’s Online Reputation in the Wake of a Data Breach]
The challenge, though, was keeping confidential information private. In the days of phone lines and T3 circuits, data privacy was easier to manage because computers needed to be physically connected to a wire before they could access the data traveling through it. That’s not the case with the Internet, but there had to be a way to use it for the transmission of confidential data. And it did turn out that there is a way in the form of VPNs. Setting up private networks in the absence of wires became possible.
With VPNs, networks are on the Internet, so they’re virtual. With no wires to limit the travel path of confidential data, privacy is maintained through encryption instead. Information from the source computer gets encrypted in a code of procedure — known as a protocol — before it is sent to the receiving computer. During transmission, it travels in virtual private pathways so that unauthorized people can’t come across it. Even if they could, they still wouldn’t be able to read or change the information because only the receiving computer can accept and decode the encrypted data. [Read: The ultimate answer to data security]
It’s very important to use VPNs if you’re sending and handling sensitive information on a regular basis. VPNs can keep such data secure especially from cyber criminals.
If you’re interested in using VPNs for your business or organization, there are two vendors you can check out are VPN4all and OCShield. These providers have great track records in delivering high-quality service.
About the Author: Alexandrea Roman is an EFL instruction materials writer for business English language learners across Europe. She is also a freelance writer for various websites. She co-writes for the blog The Background Story.