January 22nd, 2019 Read Time: 3 minutes
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If you are someone who uses the Internet (i.e. if you are a living, breathing human being in 2019), understanding how Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, work can be really helpful. VPNs can help bypass geo-restricted websites so you can use Facebook in another country. They can also help speed up loading times on popular websites during peak hours. You might even find them to be helpful when trying to send or receive payments when there’s only unsecure networks available. But if you already have access to a private network or if you’re just scrolling through the pages of Reddit, constantly connecting to a VPN isn’t really necessary and can even end up being more of a hassle.
For small businesses, though, VPNs are a must-have and can be a huge life saver when it comes to increasing security over company data. Whether you have traveling or remote employees, freelance contractors, or just need that extra peace of mind, having a VPN available for your business gives you a little extra control over your company’s cybersecurity.
As confusing as technological terms might get, Virtual Private Networks are pretty self explanatory. VPNs are encrypted connections that allow authorized users to send and receive data as if they were on a regular private network.
Much like Eames from the movie Inception, a VPN allows you to conduct business as usual on the Internet while hiding your true identity (i.e. IP address) behind a mask of sorts (i.e. a temporary IP address).
Previously used in larger enterprise settings, VPNs are now being used more by smaller businesses. Why? First, because it’s not a difficult security measure to implement and makes the world of a difference in protecting company and client data. Second, it allows more oversight and control over a company’s cybersecurity. And third, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to allow people to connect to a company’s intranet compared to other security solutions.
VPNs offer all businesses privacy, safety, and security; it’s especially important to use one when you are unable to use a private network or when you need to access sensitive company information. It can be frustrating when your VPN is not connecting, but don’t let the frustrations of a bad VPN lead you to rash decisions that can result in a security breach. Here are some possible solutions to get your VPN up and running again.
Yes, we’re telling you to turn it off and on again. If you are using a VPN application, fully exit out and then restart it. You should also double check to make sure that your VPN software is up-to-date. If you are using a VPN browser plugin, then fully quit your browser and restart it.
Next, make sure your internet is actually working. This may seem as simple and silly as restarting your VPN software, but sometimes the solutions are just that obvious. Open up your web browser and try to connect to a website without your VPN to see if your internet connection is working. You can also double check that your VPN server is online through your VPN provider’s website.
If you value security, it may be likely that you have firewall software installed. Interestingly enough, the firewall may actually be preventing your computer from connecting to the VPN. Try temporarily disabling your firewall to see if that allows you to use your VPN. If this seems to resolve the issue, create an exception in your firewall to allow the VPN connection.
Understanding how VPNs work isn’t that easy, but most people don’t care why their VPN is not connecting, just that it’s not connecting. If your VPN is still not connecting, shoot Electric a Slack message and we troubleshoot your issue right away. As always, we are here to keep you and your business from sweating the small stuff (and also help you work through the big stuff!) so you can focus on the stuff that really matters.