Protecting yourself online does not have to stop at your personal devices. Using a VPN at work comes with its perks as well. Want to hide your browsing from the employer? Check. Want to access websites and services that are blocked by the local firewall? Check. Want to maintain security when working from home or a coffee shop? Triple check. Truly, there are many reasons to use a VPN at work.
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Why do I need to use a VPN at work?
Short answer: A VPN at work will hide your browsing history, bypass network restrictions, and make sure you’re secure online. If you care about online privacy and internet freedom, you do need a VPN.
Long answer: A VPN acts as a shield that makes it very hard to harm and/or track you online. Whether it’s on your company computer or your own device connected to a company network without a VPN, the employer can potentially see what websites you visit, when you visit them, and for how long. In some cases, tracking software may be installed on these devices to monitor more than you’d expect.
A study found that a whopping 16-30% of employees either don’t know what a virtual private network is or don’t use one. Also, US employees are more likely to use their corporate devices for personal browsing than their UK counterparts.
When should you use a VPN at work? Good question! It all depends on why you want to use it. Do you want to unblock websites at work? Use a VPN when you do! Want to keep the boss off your back? Use a VPN when you do. And there’s a lot more where that came from. Here’s a list of 6 reasons to use a VPN at work.
6 reasons why you should use a VPN at work
- Hide your browsing habits
- View blocked content and websites
- Protect your sensitive data from peeping eyes
- Keep company secrets inside the network
- Work from home easily
- Join the trend of BYOD
Reason 1: Hide your browsing habits
If you don’t use a VPN, you risk showing your boss all of your browsing history. As they’re the ones who provide the internet at work, it is trivial – especially for companies big enough to have an IT department – to look up what individual devices are accessing on their network.
Normally, an HTTPS encoded connection will still show where it’s coming from (the device’s IP address) and where it’s going (the website’s address). So if you’re going to Know Your Meme or Steam, anyone managing the firewall can see that you’re doing it. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know what they’re doing there – your boss is unlikely to consider such websites and services to be part of what you need for your work.
But with a VPN on, they can only see the IP of the VPN server, which tells them really nothing. Who knows, maybe you’re using a VPN to read Harvard Business Review or one of those blogs about best optimization practices of Lean Six Sigma Agile Scrum.
Incidentally, this same functionality also prevents your regular internet service provider from knowing your browsing habits as well.
Reason 2: View blocked content and websites
Your company network may restrict access to some sites. Most companies and corporations put these restrictions on their employees through something called web filtering. This practice monitors your internet traffic for attempts to access specific websites and blocks them.
There are many different reasons for blocking websites: gambling, anything racist or offensive, and mature content are the obvious ones. However, others prevent their workers from listening to music on sites like Facebook or YouTube due to bandwidth usage and the possibility of a decrease in work productivity. But what can you do if you want to take a break by looking at some medieval art cat memes?
Well, a VPN will encrypt all your traffic and route it via a VPN server. Your company’s firewalls won’t see you connecting to yeoldecatte.com – they’ll only see the address of the VPN server. And if it’s not blocked, it will all go through.
Looking at memes or watching dog videos on YouTube isn’t a crime. Neither is connecting to a VPN to bypass filtering to enjoy this leisure time off.
Reason 3: Protect your privacy from peeping eyes
Using a VPN isn’t just about private browsing. It can also be beneficial for staying away from cyber threats. Of course, the most significant risks arise if someone with malicious intent gets your data. Anyone with the right tools can intercept passwords, banking information, and anything else you transmit over the internet (which is probably a lot), even at work.
According to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2020, phishing was one attack vector most used by hackers in 2019. Technology companies, social networks, and streaming services constitute the ten leading brands that cybercriminals falsify in phishing attempts.
Even when using VPN services at work, it is difficult to know which links might be infected with viruses. That’s why with Surfshark’s CleanWeb, you can decrease the chances of being exposed to malware-infected sites that may put you at risk to phishing attempts and other online scams.
Speaking of scams: phishing is one of the biggest online security threats right now. Aside from being very vigilant about it, a VPN is one of the technological tools that can help defend against it. That way, you’ll be guarding private data – both yours and the company’s.
Reason 4: Privately connect to public Wi-Fi
Picture this: you go out for your lunch break or coffee break but forgot to send an important file out to your team. So, what do you do? You connect to the public Wi-Fi available and send the designs. What can happen to business data transmitted this way?
Well, by connecting to public Wi-Fi without a VPN, you run the risk of it falling into the hands of hackers who compromised the hotspot. They could potentially steal all your sensitive data (including email login & passwords). Since most hotspots do not use any encryption, the connection is easy to access and stealing private information isn’t a hassle.
A VPN can save you from such situations even when connected to hotspots or Wi-Fi. As a VPN encrypts your data, it becomes unreadable to people stealing it. A good VPN uses encryption that is infeasible to crack with modern means, making your online security that much tighter.
Reason 5: Safely work from home
Working from home, in a private office, or at a table in your favorite cafe is just as efficient as being at the office – quarantine has shown us. Ensuring that your remote access connection is secure is essential. Exposing this sensitive data can harm your computer, you, and maybe your company.
Whether in WFH or just on public Wi-Fi, unsecured Wi-Fi networks are very attractive to hackers who wish to get ahold of the data of unsuspecting users. Don’t let them see your real IP address and use it against you.
Don’t hesitate to ask your employer about using Surfshark VPN to access the company network safely. They might even take up the monthly cost to prevent any mishaps.
Reason 6: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Get hip with the latest trend of working on your own devices at the office or from home. Not only will you be able to stay alert when necessary, but you’ll also have no trouble installing a VPN app. Since it is your device, you have all the right to install a program that will keep your privacy intact.
However, beware of the company requiring you to install and trust their certificates on your own laptop. This may give them the ability to monitor your device and access private or sensitive information. A VPN can help you mitigate this and you will be able to feel relaxed while working.
Get a VPN for work already
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to see everything you are doing online and take your personal information, right? Well, we must take this in and understand that it does happen, whether you’re working from your own laptop or from a company device. Setting up a protective safeguard like Surfshark VPN will take you less than 3 minutes to install, but will give you the needed protection to stay safe in the cyberworld.
What’s the difference between using a VPN at work and a business VPN?
The main difference between the two is the intent. A business VPN will securely connect an employee to the internal work network. Businesses use VPNs to grant secure access to users no matter where they are. This protects shared data and makes it easier for employees to communicate internally.
A VPN at work, on the other hand, does not have to be provided by the company. Anyone can use a VPN to protect their own communication and hide their browsing habits.
Can you use a VPN at work?
Well, it depends. There’s a lot of words to be said about company policies, especially with regards to installing apps on their devices.
But if you’re using your own device while on work Wi-Fi – go for it! Probably. Check your contract first.
Can my employer see my browsing history with a VPN?
It depends on how much monitoring and access they have on your device. If your employer only monitors your internet connection, a VPN connection will keep you safe. If they have access and can monitor the device itself, nothing will prevent them from looking at your browser history.
Can my employer track my location through a VPN?
If you’re using a commercial VPN you procured yourself and connecting to your work network remotely, then they probably can’t track you while you’re connected to a VPN. They can know the location of the VPN server you’re connecting through, though. So if you’re connecting from Paris when you’re supposed to be in Berlin, Green Lake County, or Wisconsin – it may raise some questions.
Can my employer track me via a work-provided VPN?
Yes, because the VPN servers know where you’re connecting from, and your boss has access to them.