Cybersecurity is a pressing concern for both individuals and businesses using Windows devices. Consumers lose trust in companies that fall victim to data breaches. Simply looking for stolen information from personal data, for one, can lead to months of trying to unravel identity fraud and false purchases.

Employing a virtual private network or VPN is one way people can protect their information when working with a Windows device. Let’s learn more about VPNs and how they can protect Windows devices here.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a program that can allow you to create a more secure connection to another network when using the Internet. It can provide you with online privacy and anonymity, as well as access to geo-restricted areas of the World Wide Web.

VPN is not a requirement for some devices because the local network at a business or in your own home is usually safe. Unless you give people access by sharing your password, no one can connect to it and get illegal access to your data.

However, there are greater safety concerns when traveling or working on a public network outside your home. Criminals have more ways to intercept your data when you share a connection. That’s why a VPN is the best way to create a secure channel for your data on public networks.

Working with a VPN on a Windows Device

Virtual private networks are growing in popularity. VPNs for Windows and other OS are on the rise. As such, providers want to make it as easy as possible for users to make connections. Using a VPN on a Windows device is often as simple as downloading an application from your provider.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Windows

Almost every VPN available today caters to Windows devices, and many of them offer a free version that you can download and install right away. You have many options to choose from if you’re looking for the best free VPN for Windows. But to narrow down your options and choose only the best, you should look for an all-inclusive VPN that can offer a fast connection speed, a large server, a user-friendly interface, and tight security all at the same time and for free.

Which Version of Windows Have VPN?

All working versions of Windows today support the download and installation of third-party VPNs. However, only Windows 10 has a built-in VPN client that you can set up on your own. If you don’t need a dedicated VPN for web browsing, gaming, and torrenting, Windows 10’s free built-in VPN can do all the basics. If you have specific needs or need more features, it’s best to download a paid or free third-party VPN.

However, keep in mind that most VPNs work best with more recent versions of the Windows operating system. For McAfee Safe Connect VPN, the program is compatible with Windows 7 and above. Once you download the VPN software, you can use it to choose how you wish to connect.

Why should you use a VPN?

Every time you log onto a network, your device shares information about its identity and location. A VPN can provide security and basic anonymity while you are online. On top of that, it can also allow you to access content not available in your country or region by breaking geo-restrictions.

A Manual Connection

You can choose the amount of protection you need for your Windows device through VPNs. If you are on your home network, you may not want to use the VPN for video or game streaming. When you are online shopping or handling other secure transactions, you can engage the VPN. If you choose the manual option, the best security practice is connecting to your VPN before opening your browser, especially when working on a public network.

Dig Deeper: On Public Wi-Fi, a VPN is Your Friend

Automatic Connections

Configuring your device for an automatic connection means that you will not have to remember to connect to the network while you are traveling. This option is often the right choice for portable devices. With McAfee Secure VPN, for example, you are allowed to access two automated options. You can turn on the VPN for Wi-Fi connections only or make an automatic connection when working with Wi-Fi or a LAN.

Choosing a Server

Through the VPN application settings, you can let the app choose a server for you. Your default server will generally be in the same geographic region as your device. However, the app will also let you manually choose a server. This ability gives you the option of choosing a slower connection in a different country.

Anonymous Browsing

When you employ a VPN, the sites you visit will have a hard time identifying you. Every device has an IP address. With a standard connection and a browser, a site can take that information and recognize you the next time you visit. With a VPN, the site sees the server’s IP address and not your personal computer. Since many devices will show up with the same IP address, the website cannot know which one is yours.

Disguising Your Physical Location

VPN providers like McAfee operate servers around the world. When you’re connected to a VPN, it will look as though you are logging in from the server’s country by connecting to a global server. This feature eliminates other people’s or organizations’ ability to track you. A global connection can also open up content that may be subject to location restrictions.

Safeguarding Your Data

The strongest argument for using a VPN is data security. An encrypted connection protects your data and financial transactions. When you compare VPN providers, you want to look for one that gives you AES 256-bit encryption for the safest connection.

Dig Deeper: How to Use a VPN

When should you use a VPN?

Some security professionals suggest that people should use a VPN at all times. They argue that security threats are constantly changing and increasing. Your secure network may not be as safe as you think it is. The encrypted connection of a VPN decreases the possibility of compromised data.

Yet, a VPN may not be the ideal connection for applications that do not require high security. A VPN’s server speed varies based on the amount of traffic entering it and its distance from your location. If you are streaming video or taking part in online gaming, a slow server may result in disruptive lag.

There are, of course, many situations where a VPN is always a good idea. When you travel out of town, you cannot depend on the security of a hotel network. The same reasoning applies to any public network. Working with a VPN will help keep you safe and remove any sense of worry.

Protecting All Your Devices

In addition to your Windows devices, your VPN can make connections with several different operating systems. With McAfee Secure VPN, you can use your VPN with up to five other devices, including tablets and mobile phones.

Still, even with a VPN for Windows or other OS, your data and devices are only as safe as you keep them. You will still need to employ basic online safety practices such as using complex passwords and installing antivirus protection. If you want to keep your data and devices secure at all times, McAfee has the tools and software you need.