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What is a VPN? How Does it Help Me?

A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is exactly how it sounds! In its essence, a VPN helps you create a secure and private connection between your computer or device and another network over the Internet. It uses encryption and other technologies to help you ensure that your Internet activity is safe from hackers and cybercriminals who may be lurking around when you’re using public wifi. Using a VPN to connect to the Internet allows you to surf websites privately and securely, as well as have access to restricted websites and overcome censorship blocks. In very simple terms, a VPN connects your PC, smartphone, or tablet to another server on the Internet and allows you to browse using that computer’s Internet connection.

Think about your home computer and its connection to the Internet. In most cases, there is a direct connection between your home computer and the Internet. Because of this, it’s very easy for cybercriminals to find you and attack your personal data. This is where the VPN comes in. A VPN connects your computer to a server located anywhere else in the world before making that connection to the Internet. Because there is no direct line between your computer and the Internet, cybercriminals don’t have a place to locate you and cannot attack your personal data. 

How does it help me?

No matter your purpose, having a VPN can be more than worthwhile. There are a variety of different things that you can achieve with them. 

You can use a VPN to: 

  1. Bypass geographic restrictions on websites or streaming audio/video
  2. Watch streaming media like Netflix and Hulu 
  3. Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy WIFI spots 
  4. Gain some anonymity online by hiding your location
  5. Protect yourself by torrenting 

Many people nowadays use a VPN for torrenting or bypassing geographic restrictions to watch content in a different country. VPNs are still a great way to protect yourself when using public wifi, but that’s not its only use anymore! While the examples above are all very relevant, VPNs capable of so much more. VPNs can allow you to access a business network while traveling, access your home network while traveling, hide your browsing activity from your local network and ISP, access geo-blocked websites, bypass Internet censorship, and download files.

When you connect to a VPN, you have a large choice of servers to connect to and each of those servers are located in different cities and countries. Once you’re connected, your computer will assume that you are connected to whichever city or country you have chosen the server from. For example, if there is Netflix series only available in Canada, you can connect to a server in Canada and watch the series without having to leave your house.

How do you get a VPN?

Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace, create one yourself using a service, have one created for you (we can do that for you) or even host one out of your house. If you want a way to create a VPN quickly and easily, there are a ton of websites out there that allow you to make one on your own. Websites like ExpressVPN, StrongVPN, and Tunnelbear are some of the most popular places that you can create a VPN. If you would rather have a physical piece of equipment that you can connect to your computer, just give us a call! We would be happy to create one for you.

Top 5 Technology Trends in 2020

man using technology, a virtual reality headset

If we have gained anything from 2020, it is the knowledge that things can change at the drop of a hat. At this point, I’m sure that we are all ready for 2021 and what it has in store. Looking back at the year, we can see how things not only changed socially, but they changed technologically. We have depended on technology during this past year more than ever. Through socially-distanced tasks and increased hygiene practices, technology has been there through it all to make it possible.

Think about what would have happened if we did not have modern technology to carry us through this time. You may not have even given it a second thought. Technology has not only aided in keeping millions of people safe during this global pandemic, but it has also been constantly developing to help us in other ways of life as well. The year has certainly been a year of change and development. Technology has been at the forefront of that change. Although technology will always be evolving and changing, this year specifically should be recognized for its advances in technology. Here are some of the latest technologies of this year that are sure to influence people for years to come. 

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an expansive branch of computer science that deals with building machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. In its essence, it equips computer systems with the ability to make decisions like humans. AI is actually one of the top trending technologies of the modern day. It imitates human intelligence by performing tasks such as speech and pattern recognition, weather forecast, and much more. 

AI is becoming a bigger piece to our lives as technology evolves. Machines and technology are evolving into human-like things that can recognize when they do something wrong and also make improvements.

You may recognize AI in varying applications such as Uber, Siri, Google, Bing, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and many more. Scientists expect Artificial Intelligence to create more than 70 million jobs. Although it’s creating so many more opportunities, it’s also taking away nearly 25 million jobs. AI is expected to create jobs such as maintenance, programming, data science, testing, support, and much more. This modern piece of technology will only become better and smarter as the years go on. 

2. Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality is a computer generated simulation that allows users to experience a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment. It has become a very popular way for people to experience video games. In comparison to traditional video games, a virtual reality allows users to be right in the environment. These virtual environments stimulate tons of different senses, such as touch, smell and vision. People can experience VR most often on headsets. Companies like Facebook and Sony have taken full advantage of the potential of the technology and created their own version of virtual reality, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. 

Virtual reality is not only used for video games or entertainment purposes, but it has also been adopted by the military for training. The three branches that use this are the Army, Navy and Air Force. Augmented reality and virtual reality are also used by doctors, museums, amusement parks and many more. The virtual reality industry is expected to bring in nearly $40 billion by 2021. 

3. Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is the technology that allows anyone today to configure computer software, or a “robot”, to emulate the actions of a human interacting with digital systems to execute a business process. Essentially, it is a technology used for automating daily tasks. This type of technology is similar to Artificial Intelligence. The RPA technology is used for automating business tasks, such as replying to emails, handling business data, and processing transactions. RPA is capable of automating more than 40% of daily tasks. It might scare some people to know that RPA is technologically advancing far enough to take over a lot of jobs. Fortunately, it will create a lot of jobs too. Many businesses rely on RPA because of its many benefits. There are many companies that provide RPA tools such as Blue Prism, Pega Systems, and Work Fusion. 

4. Data Science 

Data Science is technology that helps make sense of difficult data. It is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many types of data. Companies produce an immense amount of data every single day, including business, sales, customer profile information, financial information, and server data. Data scientists then take that data created and convert the unstructured data into structured data. Data scientists analyze this data in hopes of finding patterns. Those patterns are incredibly helpful in understanding the background of a company, such as looking at customer retention, business performance, finances and how those areas can be improved. How far technology has evolved, am I right? 

5. Edge Computing 

Believe it or not, edge computing is one of today’s most favored technologies. Edge computing is truly transforming the way data is being handled, processed, and delivered around the world. It actually brings computation and data storage closer to devices where it’s being gathered, instead of relying on a central location that could potentially be thousands of miles away. Edge computing essentially allows data from Internet of Things (IOT) devices to be analyzed at the edge of the network before being sent to the data center or cloud. Edge computing has been around for awhile. It has just been advancing in little ways over time. The technology was created to bring computing power as close as possible to its data source. It is estimated that by 2022 the edge computing market will be worth $7 billion. Edge computing is popular in retail, healthcare, manufacturing and many other jobs. 

This year has brought many changes. Technology has been right there with those changes, advancing and evolving along with modern times. Technology is something that will always be advancing. If we’re not careful, some of these advances may take over our jobs! Just kidding… At the moment, we should enjoy all that today’s technology has to offer and hopefully gain a better understanding of how it works.