A new report from UK anti-fraud organization CIFAS shows record levels of identity theft.
From the present controversy over Net Neutrality to the openness of public Wi-Fi, personal information has seldom been more exposed.
The Internet’s susceptibility to surveillance and cyber attacks compromises privacy, leading to concern in some quarters that it could ultimately erode public trust in our present way of life.
Fortunately, most people believe tighter security standards and encryption are key reasons to be confident about the future.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) software is a proven way for employers to ensure workers are secure and anonymous whenever they connect to the office over the public Internet.
VPNs encrypt data passing between businesses and their employees, helping to shield company confidential information from fraudsters and other unwelcome onlookers.
Identity theft has reached “epidemic levels” according to the UK’s Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS).
The anti-fraud organization recently published a report saying the amount of fraud reached 89,000 cases in the first six months of 2017 – up 5% on the same period for 2016.
The vast amounts of personal data available either online or through data breaches is making it easier for fraudsters they suggested.
In particular, CIFAS noted a sharp rise in fraudulent applications for loans, online retail, telecoms and insurance products taking place almost exclusively online.
With the threat of large fines for leaking customer information, it is just as important for employers to be vigilant about fraud as for consumers.
Erosion of Trust
ID theft is simply one of many issues threatening to undermine public trust in the Internet.
Pew Research Center was sufficiently concerned with the way the Internet is subject to compromise from surveillance by nation states and cyber attacks against public Wi-fi that they asked over 1,000 people if the lack of privacy was eroding their trust in how we live life today.
Almost half (48%) believed trust will be strengthened thanks to a variety of current trends including better online identity-verification systems, tighter security standards and wider use of encryption.
Encryption technology is a fundamental component of VPN software.
Once the exclusive province of computer specialists and network administrators, VPN services and apps have been adopted by millions of ordinary web surfers to help keep data safe and preserve anonymity while online.
A VPN acts as a cloak of invisibility over your actual IP address – used by ISPs and Internet spies to work out your location – and assigning you a virtual one anywhere in the world belonging to the VPN provider.
Not all VPNs are created equal however. Some free VPN apps are as well known for capturing and reselling personal information as the ISPs and the Internet giants themselves.
For this reason, businesses are safest acquiring a professional VPN solution and prescribing it as standard for all staff.
Business Benefits of Online Anonymity
A VPN does much more for business than simply providing employees with anonymity whenever they connect to the Internet. Below are a number of business advantages for a company-wide VPN adoption:
- Keeps Data Private – Senior business executives are rightly concerned about the possibility of sensitive company information being intercepted or stolen during information transmissions online. VPN software encrypts any data that is uploaded to or downloaded from the Internet, helping to ensure it remains safe and private.
- Enables Safe Use of Public Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas make attractive targets for cyber attackers seeking to inject hacking exploits or malware onto victims’ computers. The aim is to gain access to personal information such as bank accounts or Social Security numbers with which to commit fraud. A VPN forms a secure, encrypted tunnel between device and destination shielding data from unwanted interventions.
- Evades Internet Censors – Employees may continue to enjoy access to all of the services and web content they get at home, helping them to stay productive even when travelling to countries that impose strict constraints on which websites and social media platforms you can use.
- Maintains Access to Geo-Restricted Web Content – A key motivator for VPN usage becoming more widespread is that people want to continue to access TV shows and movies using popular streaming services. Often, the streaming provider will limit content to certain regions because of international licensing agreements or local censorship. VPN allows you to bypass regional content restrictions.
- Improves Network Speed – In some cases, using a VPN can increase your available bandwidth. Depending on the server location of the desired web content and the server location of the VPN service it is sometimes possible to improve access speeds and the overall online experience.
- Enhances Productivity and Security – A VPN is a productive way to provide secure access to a corporate Intranet. It provides a secure and encrypted environment for accessing important company sensitive information, freeing employees to work from home or while on the road at any time of the day. Employees can also use it collaborate on shared files for extended periods without concern that the data may be intercepted or subjected to hacking attacks.
In summary, professional VPN software provides businesses with employee anonymity, data privacy and much more. It allows employees to maximize their productivity by giving them a secure environment with which to log into the corporate network and continue working regardless of location and time of day.