January 8, 2018

AZ Business Magazine

Learn why you need a VPN

One of the best ways to safeguard sensitive data is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when browsing the internet, checking email, using cloud-based applications and other online activity. But here in the United States, an alarming number of people and businesses are not using VPNs. In fact, worldwide, the U.S. is ranked as having one of the lowest VPN usage rates, with just 5 percent of internet users taking advantage of this extra layer of security. 

Michael Cocanower, president and CEO of Phoenix-based itSynergy, will conduct a free, 15-minute “VPN – Why Do I Need It?” webinar on Thursday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m. Participants will learn how a VPN works, when it should be used, options for setting up service and other tips to protect valuable data. Interested participants should register at http://www.itsynergy.com/webinar.

Cocanower, who has been recognized nationally and locally for his IT expertise, said businesses, in particular, should employ this security measure and insist that remote workers use a VPN as well.

“To the average user, a VPN is simply a way to establish a secure connection between the remote location where a user is sitting and the office. Once the connection is established, all traffic flows encrypted between your computer in the remote location and your office. At that point, everything you do is encrypted, whether that’s email, surfing the web or using other applications. A VPN also offers the side benefit of allowing you access to resources, such as saved files at the office that you otherwise would not have remote access to,” he said.

Cocanower said many people don’t realize that VPN software is included at no cost with all server operating systems from Microsoft. Additionally, many hardware devices such as home routers also have VPN capability. Setting it up, though, can be tricky.

“If someone is tech savvy, they may be able to figure out how to do it on their own. However, there are some key considerations, such as which type of VPN to use, how it should be configured, and other factors that should be thoroughly researched and understood before setting it up,” he said.

Cocanower hopes more businesses will utilize VPNs, especially since data from Juniper research predicts cybercrime will cost businesses more than $2 trillion in 2019 – a four-fold increase from 2015.

“That same report revealed that a hacker spends an average of 146 days within a network before being detected,” Cocanower said. “Imagine the damage that could be done to your firm’s or your client’s sensitive data in that time.”

The “Hacking the Human” webinars take place at 11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The webinars are geared towards non-technical end users in business at any level in the company. Each webinar provides useful tips to ward off cyberattacks and more complex social engineering schemes that result in theft and corporate espionage.

For more information, call itSynergy at (602) 297-2400 or visit www.itsynergy.com.