Why VPN is Essential if you Work in Finance

A virtual private network (VPN) adds security and privacy to private and public networks. Even when working in-house, having a VPN can prevent accessibility from the general organization. This could be helpful, especially when working in finance.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN can be used to access the network while out of the office. When using one, the information is encrypted so the Internet Service Provider (ISP) only sees the encrypted data. This prevents websites from seeing your identity as well. For financial people, this is especially crucial. Without a VPN, hackers may be able to see passwords and other confidential information resulting from transactions.

Imagine this – when you connect to a VPN, the data that is sent from your device to the private network on the other side is encapsulated. Basically, you’re putting different sets of data in different packets – sort of like a letter getting put into another envelope so the person transporting it cannot read what is there. Consider it tamper-proof. Some VPNs also go as far as using SSL for encryption for that extra layer of protection. You’re essentially getting a network within a network, but with added privacy so no one will be able to see your activities. Using this as your fail-safe in and out of the office will help promote safety at all times.

There’s a lot VPN services in the market you can choose from. Some are free and some are paid, if going for a paid one be sure it’s worth your money. This source might help you decide which VPN subscription to avail.

Think about how hackers attack:

– Phishing

Although phishing is widely known, it still occurs and can unknowingly infiltrate your organization through an employee. It could be something as simple as a customer email requesting information in some way, which really is a way to get into your system. Once the hacker gets into the system, data is stolen and given to the hacker via their server. If using a VPN, this will be negated. Proper training is key, and employees should be advised to make sure the email addresses requesting the information are valid, and there are no links to click.

– Malware

Consider malware a malicious threat to any system. In many instances, malware pops up within an organization and silently creeps information without anyone knowing. This means stealing sensitive information, deleting confidential information, modifying the system, and in some cases, tracking activities. This leaves organizations vulnerable and at risk. How will you know malware is present? If you see a series of data files that have been replicated and it wasn’t initiated by one of your employees, chances are there is malware present. This could come from anywhere – including sites that have to be accessed. When using a VPN, those sites will not be able to see the activity.
There are different types of malware, including trojans, viruses, spyware, keyloggers and more. Being diligent in using a VPN in and outside of the office when dealing with financial matters can circumvent infiltration.

– Mobile apps

Even if you are using a mobile app that says it is secure, there should be some caution involved. Using a VPN can hide your information from hackers, as their main goal is making sure they get your information. As mobile technology continues to become the choice for many, hackers use this method as a surefire way to get into financial systems.
These apps use a variety of ways to get your information, including collecting data to gain access to your accounts, sending SMS messages to numbers that can empty your accounts, recording phone conversations that you may have inadvertently given away sensitive information, remotely wiping your system through device admin permissions, and stealing your contacts, which could also be a pathway to accessing your accounts.

– Smishing

If you work with financials, hackers try and take your information through a phone call or SMS message. It is one of the fastest growing threats in online security. This process takes elements of social engineering to get you to share personal information. If you work with a lot of clients, it could be easy for an email to be sent and you not realize what is actually going on. It is important to prevent sharing any sensitive information through SMS or phone.

– Insecure networks

It is vitally important to have a VPN when attempting to connect to outside networks. A hacker can quickly gain information – stealing your passwords, social accounts and other sensitive information. They can also pass along malware on authentic websites that you frequent and trust to infiltrate your systems. It is important to stray away from connecting to “free” WiFi networks if you do not have a VPN, as it could mean the difference of having a secure system and one that will severely hurt your organization or activities.

If you are performing any bank transactions or anything financial that contains sensitive information, make sure you use the VPN before you connect – each and every time.

While it is easy to think you can trust networks on a casual basis, securing a VPN when online is becoming more important each day. Taking the time to create a secure environment where you can trust what you are doing makes a tremendous difference in the way you work.

Protecting the sensitive and confidential information of yourself, your clients and the organization you represent is not only smart, but demonstrates you have the expertise and knowledge to be trusted when dealing with financial matters. Making sure you have these protocols in place for every financial transaction is key in moving forward.

Although there is some cost involved, acquiring a VPN is a small expense that will save you money over time. Should you take the time to explore VPNs and how they can help you? Absolutely. Getting a VPN now will help you now and in the future in avoiding those mistakes many make. Do major organizations use VPNs? Yes – and the ones that don’t? They are vulnerable to attack.

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