In a recent interview with PreciseSecurity.com, Atlas VPN Chief Operations Officer, Rachel Welch explained why the middle class will drive the adoption of virtual private networks in the event of an economic crisis. She also talked about how companies can leverage on VPN to ensure their data is safe while employees are working from home.
During the interview, Welch further talked about how internet users are positioning themselves in the wake of data breaches. The officer also talked about the trends to expect in the VPN sector in 2020.
Currently, there are quite a lot of VPN providers and the competition within the niche is really high. Who will win in the end – the marketing or the technology behind the companies?
“Although technology and marketing go hand in hand, to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, you have to have a great product. Atlas VPN is using the most advanced technology solutions in the industry. Now that we have done that, we are working on advertising, as even the best products remain unknown without great marketing. After all – it is a technology that wins in the end. Our goal is to build a top-notch product that is only complimented by advertising.
As well, VPNs are now widely used by non-tech-savvy people. It is easier to evaluate a product judging it by its design or social media posts rather than the technologies used behind it.”
In a recent report, Atlas VPN noted that VPN usage in Italy skyrocketed by 112% and 53% in the US, amidst the coronavirus outbreak. In the US it could increase to 150%. Could this mean that together with the pandemic gold age for VPNs is around the corner?
“Yes, possibly. However, using a VPN is rather a luxury, not a necessity. So, if an economic crisis hits us, it is likely that VPNs will become even more popular among middle-class workers, yet the working class will shift their money towards necessities. Having that in mind, Atlas VPN will continue offering a forever-free version, so the secure internet is accessible for everyone.”
How do you prepare yourself regarding regulations? VPNs can be easily banned by governments, especially in digital-limited countries like China, Russia, India, North Korea and similar. If you had a chance to say a message for the government on why they should not ban VPNs, what would it be?
“We are using specific technology solutions to be able to provide VPN services for people from all over the world. Sometimes, it gets tricky to guess the action certain government bodies will take. But, we promise to adjust to unexpected changes and do everything in our power to offer the quality service throughout the subscription period and beyond.
Governments that truly care about their citizens would not ban VPN services since VPN technology is a digital form of freedom.”
What threats do companies face in the wake of allowing employees to work from amid the coronavirus outbreak? How can VPN help in mitigating these threats?
“During quarantine, people choose to stay home and work remotely. Cybercriminals are aware that home networks typically are never as protected as the office ones. On top of that, companies have to open internal resources so that workers can access them remotely. With people using vulnerable network connections, hackers can quickly get onto their devices and steal confidential information from the company.
One of the ways to ensure that does not happen is to use a VPN. Our VPN protects you in many ways: it blocks access to phishing websites, encrypts your traffic so that hackers cannot intercept your connections using WiFi sniffer or Man-In-The-Middle attack technique.”
Some VPN providers do not offer what they promise since most of them have complex or nonexistent privacy policies. What guarantee does Atlas VPN offer users that they will get what is promised?
“Transparency is key. By being transparent in our communication or open about where Atlas VPN is based, we hope to earn our customers’ trust.
Revenue from cybercrime activities in 2019 now stands at $1.5 trillion and cybercriminals are evolving in their acts. As a VPN service provider, how are you positioned to curb the ever-evolving cybercrime scene?
“Hackers make most of their money by selling stolen data in secret forums on the dark web. A VPN is one of the best ways to protect yourself against hacker attacks that try to steal your personal information. After connecting to a VPN server, hackers can only retrieve encrypted data, which is worthless.”
In some regions, Atlas VPN uses third parties to offer its services. What specific measures have you put in place to guarantee users that their data is safe in the hands of third parties?
“Firstly, just as users do their due diligence when deciding whether to trust us, we do the same with all of our third-party providers. As a company, we naturally have more power in performing this due diligence. However, it would be foolish to assume that mistakes can not happen.
Yet, we design our process to prevent mistakes. It includes building long term relationships with third-party providers, encrypting all sensitive data to make sure that unauthorized access can not happen, constant monitoring of our systems, and much more. We also configure servers per our security and privacy standards to go along with our no-logs policy. At the end of the day, it is best for our bottom line to keep your data secure.”
In the wake of data breaches, are internet users fully utilizing tools like VPN to stay safe?
“The average internet user is getting more aware of the threats they face online. People are looking for ways to protect their data, and using a VPN is one of the main steps to do so.
We do see an increase in VPN usage, but people have to be aware of the actual situation behind data breaches.
Taking the 2017 Equifax data breach as an example, that leak exposed the personal information of 147 million people. In such cases, using a VPN will not help. After providing your details to a company, you are at the mercy of their cybersecurity infrastructure. A Virtual Private Network is great for protecting your personal devices, but your sensitive data stored in companies’ databases is still at risk.”
What new developments do you expect to see in the VPN sector this year?
“We believe that VPN companies will start to expand their arsenal of products. Antiviruses, password managers, ad blockers are all relevant to people who are already using a VPN. However, rarely does a single company offer all of these services. Yet, having one company that takes care of all of your cybersecurity needs is convenient. Hence, we believe that we will see more and more companies announcing the launch of a new product throughout the year.”
Thank you, Rachel, for the conversation!