Virtual private networks (VPNs) have seen tremendous growth in users globally over the past few years. As per research by Go-Globe, approximately 25% of internet users worldwide have used a VPN at least once in the last 30 days. More recently, VPN usage has surged across many countries.

Industry projections estimate that the global VPN market can exceed revenues of 58 billion by 2032. Also, the demand for VPN services continues its sharp upward trajectory as recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated remote work and digital security adoption. But what exactly is global VPN, and what makes it so appealing? Let’s find out!

What Is Global VPN?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) tools establish a secure network connection using public networks. VPNs encrypt internet traffic and hide your online identity. This makes it impossible for third parties to steal your internet activities and information. The encryption occurs in real-time.

A VPN hides your IP address by routing it through a specially configured distant server maintained by a VPN host. This implies that when you use a VPN to surf the internet, your data is routed through the VPN server.

This means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties cannot see the websites you browse or the information you send and receive online. A VPN acts as a filter, converting your data into gibberish. Even if someone got your information, it would be useless.

How is a Global VPN Used?

A VPN routes a device's internet connection through a private service rather than the user's primary ISP. The VPN serves as an intermediary between the user and the internet by concealing their IP address.

A VPN establishes a private, encrypted tunnel that allows a user's device to access the internet while concealing personal information, location, and other data. The VPN provides a secure connection for all network traffic. This implies that any data delivered to the internet is routed through the VPN rather than from the user's PC.

When people connect to the internet using a VPN, their computer sends data to websites over the encrypted connection established by the VPN. The VPN then transmits the request and returns a response from the requested website.

For example, a user in the United States can change their location to the United Kingdom and watch videos from streaming websites geared toward British audiences. A US citizen can also continue to stream their favourite shows while on vacation outside the nation.

How the Global VPN Boosts Data Privacy and Security

VPN adds impenetrable encryption between devices and the internet that conceals online identity, browsing, and data transfers from prying eyes - providing true data privacy. Leading VPN brands undergo regular audits and transparency reports to validate their privacy standards and policies worldwide.

Here are a few more features of global VPN that foster data privacy and security:

  • Encryption: A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel for internet traffic that safeguards data like emails, files, and messages from prying eyes or attacks. Military-grade protocols like AES-256-bit OpenVPN encryption ensure data remains obscured.
  • Anonymity: VPN hides the user's IP address and location details. The traffic originates from the VPN server's IP, making it tough to track activity or tap targeted surveillance on users.
  • Kill Switch: If the VPN connection drops, the kill switch feature instantly cuts off the network to prevent real IP leaks and exposure. This means that no data goes out unencrypted.
  • Strict No-Logs Policy: Leading VPN providers have strict zero-knowledge, no-logging policies for user activity. No usage logs mean no risk of data falling into hackers or agencies through the VPN provider.

Types of Global VPN Client Scenarios and Configurations

Some common global VPN client scenarios and configurations are:

Remote Access VPN

A remote access VPN allows individual users to connect to a private corporate network from a remote device over the public internet. For example, employees can use remote access VPNs to connect their home computers to the office network. This allows employees to securely access company files, applications, and resources while working from home. Many organisations support work-from-home arrangements using remote access VPN technology.

Site-to-Site VPN

A site-to-site VPN connects entire networks in different locations. Some typical examples are:

Organisations often use site-to-site VPNs to connect a branch office network to the company headquarters network. This allows users and computers in the branch office to access applications, file servers and other resources in the organisation's core network. Traffic flowing between the branch office and headquarters is encrypted through the VPN tunnel.

Split Tunnel vs Full Tunnel

A split tunnel VPN configuration only routes traffic destined for the corporate network through the VPN tunnel. Any internet traffic from the client device goes directly to the internet without passing through the VPN. This allows access to public websites and cloud applications directly without burdening the corporate network infrastructure. Users get good web browsing performance.

In a full tunnel configuration, all traffic from the VPN client, including internet browsing, is routed through the VPN tunnel and corporate gateway/firewall. This allows the organisation to enforce web filtering, malware protection, and data loss prevention and apply corporate internet use policies to all traffic. Access control is stringent, but it impacts web performance.

Client VPN Software and Profiles

Popular software for creating IPsec or SSL-encrypted VPN sessions on devices include Tata Communications, Cisco AnyConnect, Pulse Secure, F5 Big-IP, and OpenVPN clients. These client applications interface with gateway VPN infrastructure like concentrators.

Enterprise VPN gateways can often push VPN profiles, configurations, and policies to managed clients. For example, the gateway can push web filtering rules, allow apps and resources, routing policies, authentication mechanisms, etc. This allows centralised administration and updating of connections.

MFA and Conditional Access

MFA adds an extra layer of security for VPN login and access. With MFA, users need to provide two forms of identification to access the VPN - a username/password plus a security token code. This mechanism decreases the risk of compromised credentials.

Moreover, for enhanced security, contextual access policies can be defined for VPN users based on parameters like device type, user groups, requested applications, network location, etc. For example - access may be allowed only from managed devices, or privileged resources may need additional MFA.

Global VPN Usage Statistics

The VPN market includes dozens of VPN providers and over a billion users. It all adds up to a global, multibillion-dollar industry that grows year after year.

Here's a quick look at the top global VPN statistics for 2024:

  • The global VPN market is valued at $44.6 billion.
  • Qatar presently has the world's highest VPN adoption rate.
  • Two-thirds of VPN users are 16 to 34 years old.
  • 36% of VPN users in the US and UK use their VPN at least once daily.
  • Around two in five remote workers utilise a VPN.
  • VPN usage is limited in 19 countries, including Oman, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, and Turkmenistan.

How and Why We Use Global VPNs

A Global VPN establishes a secure and encrypted connection between users or devices across the globe, allowing them to access a private network or the internet with enhanced privacy and security. Here are some common ways a Global VPN is used:

  • Remote Access: Employees can securely access the company's internal network and resources anywhere. This is particularly valuable for remote workers or employees travelling internationally.
  • Secure Data Transmission: Businesses use Global VPNs to secure the communication channels between offices in different countries. This ensures that confidential data, such as financial transactions or confidential information, is transmitted securely.
  • Bypassing Geo-restrictions: Users can access online content that might be geographically restricted, such as streaming services or online services, by connecting to a VPN server in the desired location.
  • Enhanced Security: VPNs encrypt data traffic, making it difficult for unauthorised parties to access sensitive information. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often less secure.
  • Anonymous Browsing: VPNs mask the user's IP address, providing a degree of anonymity. This makes tracking a user's online activities more challenging for websites, advertisers, or malicious entities.

What Do People Look for in a Global VPN?

While the factors depend on each individual and their needs, here are some common pointers that people look for when choosing a global VPN provider:

  • Reliability & Availability: The VPN should provide consistent uptime and connectivity across regions. Frequent disconnections or slow speeds will frustrate users. Look for VPNs with robust networks and infrastructure.
  • Security: Security is paramount when business data is transmitted globally. Choose VPNs offering top encryption standards, leak protection, kill switches, and strict no-logging policies to safeguard data.
  • Speed: VPN encryption typically impacts speeds. However, the degree of slowdown varies greatly across providers. Look for those offering the fastest global speeds by optimising protocols, efficient routing, caching and premium bandwidths.
  • Global Server Infrastructure: An extensive worldwide infrastructure offers lower latency by connecting users to the nearest regional servers. Users should get good speeds anywhere.
  • Unblocking Capability: The VPN should reliably unblock geo-restricted content from popular global streaming sites like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, etc.
  • Multiple Device Connection: Simultaneous connections across iOS, Android, and Windows platforms should be supported. Using phones, laptops, and tablets, staff can securely access the system from one account.
  • Customer Support: 24/7 customer service for troubleshooting issues should be available across time zones via live chat, email or phone support.
  • Value for Money: Of course, affordability is vital too. Compare VPN plans in terms of monthly/annual pricing for coverage of unlimited bandwidth, connection speeds offered and number of device connections allowed per account.
  • Ease of Use: The app UI and connection process should be intuitive. Complex interfaces reduce productivity with a learning curve.

Key Takeaways

A VPN connection provides a secure connection between you and the internet. The VPN routes all of your data traffic through an encrypted virtual tunnel. When using the internet, this hides your IP address, making its location unknown to everyone. A VPN connection also protects against external threats.

That's because only you can access the data in the encrypted tunnel; no one else can because they don't have the key. A VPN enables you to access regionally prohibited content anywhere in the world. 

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