Adopting Safer Habits: Virtual Private Network (VPN)

What’s a VPN?

VPN is short for Virtual Private Network.  A VPN allows individuals who work outside a secure network a way to connect to network resources with little risk of the network traffic being intercepted.  Many companies and institutions require the use of a VPN to connect to protect against the loss of sensitive data that employees look up, reference, and update when working offsite.

Why use a VPN? 

Open WiFi networks continue to expand into coffee shops, airports, restaurants, convention centers, and other places that people congregate socially and for business.

The openness of these networks provides a great resource for those who need to find information, send an email or check the latest news from convenient locations.  It also provides opportunity for others on the network to snoop on the information you are sending and receiving.

When you use a VPN, all of your network traffic is funneled through a secure connection which, in essence provides a tunnel for your network traffic to travel through that is hard to intercept along the way.    The process of creating the tunnel and encrypting the data travelling through it result in slower speed, a small sacrifice for protecting the data and personal information of our students, benefactors and colleagues.

What VPN to Use?

Not all VPNs are created equal and there are a multitude to choose from for business and personal use.

Allegheny VPN

Allegheny College adopted a VPN that is compatible with our network and technologies that we use on campus.  Allegheny VPN is necessary to access the private and personal information available from Colleague.  If your work requires access to these systems please contact Information Technology Services (ITS) to get access to Allegheny VPN.  VPN access requires the installation of a small program that manages the connection and encryption of the traffic.

Selecting a Personal VPN

There are many options to consider and there is not a personal vpn provide that ITS recommends.  Instead we suggest you consider the following as you select a VPN for your personal use.

  • Types of Protocols Used
  • Server and Exit Locations
  • Logging 
  • Other protections provided
  • Type of Traffic Permitted
  • Stability of Performance
  • Monthly Cost
For a better understanding of these evaluation criteria, consider reading more at..