Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that the number of people working from home in the UK in 2020 doubled compared to figures from the previous year. The coronavirus pandemic prompted a seismic shift in our working cultures as people were forced to stay away from the office and do their jobs from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Such significant changes brought inevitable challenges as businesses, and their employees had to adapt. Even as restrictions begin to ease, millions around the country are opting to continue to work remotely. It looks set to become a permanent solution for many, but those who wish to stay at home will need to make sure they’re set up with the appropriate technology.
Having the proper hardware is a given, but remote workers should also ensure they’re connected to a virtual private network (VPN). Here, we’ll explain what a VPN is, how it works and why you should be using one when working from home.
What is a VPN, and how does it work?
A VPN creates an encrypted data tunnel between your local network and a network in another location. It masks your IP address to make you virtually untraceable and encrypts your browsing data before sending it to a secure server. It is then decrypted before it is moved on to your intended destination. The same process works in reverse when you receive data.
It’s estimated that 31% of internet users worldwide connect to a VPN, and some companies provide their employees with laptops preloaded with a VPN, which the business will pay for. If that’s not the case, there are numerous VPN services available – some that require a subscription fee and others that are free of charge.
What are the benefits of using a VPN when working from home?
It’s recommended to always use a VPN when working from home, and here are just a few of the reasons why:
Guard against cybercrime
The National Crime Agency has warned cyber criminality is on the rise, and the consequences for the victims can be severe. Connecting to a VPN means your data will be encrypted, so hackers will find it much more difficult to get hold of any potentially sensitive personal or financial information.
Protect your privacy
Your browsing data is recorded by your internet service provider. In some cases, they are permitted to sell that information to businesses, advertisers, and even government agencies. If you don’t want that to happen, using a VPN will mean that data will remain private.
Connecting to a sound VPN can also improve your bandwidth and efficiency, meaning your browsing speeds will be faster and your productivity greater.
Enjoy secure sharing
Working from home means a lot of communication and file sharing, which can be done more securely with a high-quality VPN. Strong encryption will mean third parties cannot access these transfers, and any company or client data will remain safe.