Essential Digital Skills Level 1

111 videos, 7 hours and 55 minutes

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What is a VPN

Video 104 of 111
3 min 14 sec
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Now, in this video, we are just going to briefly look at what a VPN is. A VPN stands for virtual private network. Now, most of the time we are using computers, you will not need to worry about VPNs, it is something that other people use and you are just going to browse as normal and there is no problems with it.

Now, there are different areas where you would need this. What it is, it enables you to have a secure tunnel to another computer or server system to make it much more secure, so no one can see what you are doing within your computers and the work and the data you are transferring. Now, an example of this has been with the pandemic, so just for our company, we have people working on our accounts system, which when they worked in the office, they were behind our firewalls and all the activity they were working on their computers are very secure because we had all the protection on-site, which we did even when the pandemic hit.

But the problem was, was the person accessing that information was now working remotely, so we wanted to make it so that their computer when working at home was as if it was actually in our building. So what you do is you set up a VPN. Now, on this course, we are not going to look at how to do this, we just really need to understand these VPNs do exist. So by setting up the VPN, we set this direct tunnel, effectively, between the accounts person's computer at home and our servers in our office. So although they were sitting at home, it was as if they were sitting in our office, so there was full protection.

Now, by doing this, it meant we could keep all of our data safe. Now, if you are just using computers yourself now, it may be that you use a VPN for a different reason. It may well be that you are working or living in Spain, for example, and you want to be able to access websites in the UK or you want your website browsing to appear as if you are in the UK and you can do this with a VPN as well. There are lots of companies online where you can buy a VPN system, which is very simple, and it gives you full instructions, you just download a small program onto your computer and when you hook up into the internet, it automatically, your internet on your computer in Spain links with a server in the UK, so when you are actually browsing websites, it comes up with all of the information locally to where you are.

The average of this, if you are searching for the information you want to find out about something in the United Kingdom but you are in Spain, you do not want lots of Spanish stuff coming up, so it can make it much, much easier. And also, some websites are restricted, so you cannot view them outside the UK, but using a VPN and coming up with another IP address or a computer address of where you are in the UK means that you can access information nice and simply. So VPNs are something which in general computing your probably will not need to worry about; however, you do need to know that they are available, just in case you need a more secure connection between yourself and your workplace or another computer for whatever reason.

Learning Outcomes:
  • EDSQ Unit 5 LO 14.3