Think you know the answer?
Think you know the answer?
Office 365 was first released in 2011 as a part of the Microsoft Office group of products. The biggest benefit of using Office 365 is being able to access applications like Outlook without experiencing firewall blocks. In addition, Office 365 works with a cloud service, so you can access your data remotely without being tied down to your office space or home. While this solution brings with it a plethora of benefits, there are still concerns over security risks that come with using cloud services at scale. Enter virtual private networks to shore up the gap.
However, it’s not enough to just get any old VPN. You need a quality provider to ensure optimal protection, reliability, and ease of use. In this article, we’ll discuss how to pick the right VPN service, offer you our favorite provider recommendations, and delve into benefits of using a VPN.
Using Office 365, as well as Outlook, comes with many advantages. However, there has been some debate over how safe the cloud is for storing sensitive information. Rather than trusting Microsoft with the data of your entire business (or even personal), choosing a VPN provider will protect all your information at a small price. Whether you are a journalist covering a sensitive topic or an employee doing market research, a VPN with military-grade encryption and a no-logging policy will ensure that no one, from cybercriminals to your ISP, will be able to access your data. It does so by manipulating your IP address and rendering you untraceable.
A VPN can be a life saver if you are located abroad and need to access your personal files on Office 365. Not only will it become a bulletproof way to work remotely while traveling, but you will be able to access all your personal accounts wherever you are located in the world. Many users have reported connectivity issues or even connection loss when accessing Office 365 applications with an active VPN. However, with one of our recommended providers, you will have no such issue. In addition, you’ll be able to get access to your personal accounts, such as your bank account, while bypassing regional blocks and keeping your data secure when you’re not using Microsoft Office products.
One of the major advantages of using a VPN service is sidestepping geoblocks and firewall restrictions. If you are travelling for work but your work files are restricted under your company’s firewall, a VPN is there to solve all your problems. Additionally, a VPN service will allow you to access massive ranges of Netflix content, as well as other restricted pages or services from abroad. For example, if you are looking to access Wikipedia or Facebook from China, using a VPN will allow you to do so without running into restrictions placed by the Great Firewall of China.
If you are abroad for work and are about to access all your personal files on Office 365 through the hotel or public WiFi, please think twice. You may be unaware of this, but public hotspots are not safe for confidential browsing or emailing on Outlook. This is because there is no encryption on data passing through these servers, and even an untrained hacker will be able to intercept this sort of connection with a simple plugin. In order to keep your personal and professional data private, you will need an encrypted connection, which is something you can get with a quality VPN. Not only will it make you anonymous online, but your files will be inaccessible to malicious hackers and cybercriminals.
Using a VPN to protect your connection while using Outlook and Office 365 is typically a breeze, but finding the right provider can prove to be a challenge. After all, the VPN market is a crowded one, and many companies claim to be the best, for better or worse. We narrowed down the field using the following search criteria:
Looking for a the perfect VPN for your Office 365-equipped device? Take a look at our top 5 recommended providers:
ExpressVPN is our #1 choice of VPN for its unmatched focus on speed and security. With a server network of 2,000+ nodes in 94 countries, you have the option to establish a fast and secure connection no matter where you are in the world. In addition, ExpressVPN places no limitations on bandwidth, traffic, or server switches, making it ideal for corporate use (which can use a lot of data). Getting started is fast and easy too thanks to dedicated apps for a wide range of systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and even routers like D-Link and Tomato.
ExpressVPN’s security features are highly advanced, with 256-bit AES encryption at its core. Cracking a single key would take a supercomputer millions of years, leaving little hope for hackers, ISPs, or whoever else might want your data. Specific encryption protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, as well as SSTP, which helps beat even the most hardcore censorship blocks (think China). Additionally, ExpressVPN has a solid no-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and even browsing history, which will ensure that no third parties ever get their hands on your information and personal data. With a built-in kill switch and DNS leak test, you can be certain that you won’t leak data to your ISP – even if your connection drops or something else goes wrong.
Read more about this top-of-the-line service in our full ExpressVPN review.
NordVPN is another one of our top recommendations due to its advanced features and massive server network. The provider has 5,230+ nodes in 62 countries, which makes it the largest network in the entire industry. The location distribution allows you to connect virtually to any location excluding Antarctica, meaning you’ll be able to overcome geoblocks and establish the fastest available connection no matter where you’re using Office. Another important feature is the large number of specialty servers. For example, Obfuscated Servers hide the fact that you are using a VPN while Double VPN servers route your data through two layers of encryption, ensuring no one outside of your circle can access your data.
In addition to the above, NordVPN employs impeccable security features. With 256-bit AES encryption keys, you can be certain that even the world’s strongest supercomputer will not be able to access your data. Furthermore, the provider’s no-logging policy, covering everything from traffic to bandwidth and browsing history, is considered to be the most complete policy in the industry. Additional features for ultimate privacy and security include an automatic kill switch and a DNS leak test, both of which help stop data leaks before they reach your ISP (albeit via different mechanisms).
For more information, check out our full review of NordVPN.
CyberGhost is a great choice of VPN service if what you’re looking for is a combination of reliability and ease of use. You have the option to choose from 6 pre-configured profiles that apply automatic settings based on the use-case. These profiles include “protect my WiFi connection” and “surf anonymously”, both of which are good for increased security while using Office 365 or Outlook. If you want to get more advanced, you have the option to further customize these profiles with toggles like “extra speed” or “block malicious websites”. In addition to this simple configuration system for desktop apps, CyberGhost works seamlessly on almost every major device and operating system from iPhones to video game consoles.
On the security front, CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption which is considered to be unbreakable. This means that third parties won’t be able to view your data, even if they manage to get access to it. Complementing the encryption is a zero-logging policy considered to be immaculate to the point that not even your email address is stored. If you are using the service on desktop, you have additional features that will protect you from data leaks and other security mishaps. These include a connection guard, an in-built kill switch, and an online tracking blocker.
Read more details about the service’s range of features in our full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN, true to its name, is one of the safest VPNs out there. Your data will be locked down with military-grade 2048-bit encryption with AES-256 encryption, meaning any sensitive information will be protected. Specific encryption protocols include OpenVPN, PPTP, and the very fast (but slightly less secure) L2TP. In addition, the zero-logging policy on all traffic ensures that your (and your business’s) privacy is never threatened while you’re using Office. Additional features include an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection which will alert you should your connection ever be interrupted.
In addition to top-of-the-line security, PrivateVPN offers a great range of basic features and extras. While PrivateVPN’s server network is smaller than other services on our list, the nodes are still distributed across 52 countries and are incredibly powerful, both in terms of bandwidth and speed. This means you get the same kind of speed and low latency you’d enjoy on industry-leading VPNs with smaller networks. Moreover, bandwidth, speed, and server switches are all unlimited so you can use this service for as long as you choose to work.
In addition to all of the above, PrivateVPN lets you connect up to 6 different devices simultaneously: enough for a small office This makes PrivateVPN ideal for corporate Office 365 and Outlook life. The best part, however, is the option to do a free remote setup to help you save time.
Take a look at our full PrivateVPN review.
PureVPN may be the last service on our list, but it is far from the least. The service covers more locations than any other provider on our list, with 2,000+ nodes in 140 countries. This means you can connect to an IP address from virtually any country you want, getting fast connections to international offices. Furthermore, PureVPN places no limitations on bandwidth, traffic, or server switching so you can use the service 24/7 without worrying about surcharges. Should you ever run into a problem with the connection, there is 24-hour live chat support available to you, and representatives can walk you through the issue to resolve it as fast as possible. PureVPN is available as a desktop or mobile application, browser extension, and even has dedicated apps for routers and smart TVs.
In addition to a solid foundation for a top quality VPN, PureVPN is also technologically powerful. Firstly, the provider uses 256-bit encryption to protect your personal and corporate data when you’re using Office 365 and Outlook. The second line of defense comes from a no-logging policy that covers everything from IP addresses to timestamps and browsing history, protecting your data from prying third parties. Finally, Ozone technology proactively protects your device, data, and identity, 24/7 – even when you’re away from all your devices.
Office 365, including the Outlook application, has been one of the most useful updates to the Microsoft line of products. However, while it allows you to use the applications remotely through the cloud service, the question of security continues to bother users and businesses. Many have reported issues with using Office 365 with a VPN, but by opting for one of our recommended providers, you will be able to overcome regional blocks, keep your data secure, and access all the files remotely wherever you are located in the world.
Have you tried any of these VPN providers with Office 365 or one of its applications? Leave us your feedback down below!
Windows 10 has ease of access settings that can help improve how you work. One such setting allows you to automatically select a window on mouse hover. It basically lets you skip the first click you have to make to bring an app to the front and lets you interact with it directly. Here’s how you can enable it.
Open the Control Panel and go to the Ease of Access group of settings.
On the Ease of Access page, select the ‘Change how your mouse works’ option.
On the next page, enable the ‘Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse’ option under ‘Make it easier to manage windows’.
Click Apply and close the Control Panel.
This feature works for windows that you can see on your screen. Windows that you have minimized cannot be activated by hovering the mouse cursor over them. You cannot activate a window by hovering the mouse cursor over its taskbar preview window.
This works for apps that are pinned side by side, or for apps that are open on different monitors. Normally, when you have apps pinned side by side or on different monitors, you have to first click on an app to select it. After that, you can interact with it. The first click will always be for selecting the app.
With this feature enabled, simply moving your mouse over a window will ‘select’ it. You can click anywhere on the app e.g. on a button for opening a file, and the click will be recognized.
This option exponentially improves working with multiple monitor set ups. I personally find it annoying to have to select an app on a different monitor first before I can interact with. Often I forget that that’s what I have to do so this option is pretty useful.
The mouse cursor selects the app but that doesn’t mean you’re bound to interact with it via the mouse. If you’ve, for example, moved your mouse over the Netflix app, you can tap the space bar to play/pause it. This works even if apps are open in full screen mode on a different screen.
This particular setting isn’t available in the Settings app on Windows 10 even though it too has an Ease of Access group of settings which is why it’s possible that not many people know about it. I personally think it should be in the multitasking tab.
Virtual private networks, usually shortened simply to “VPNs”, are rapidly becoming an indispensable tool for protecting our online identities and preserving Internet privacy. Using a VPN is generally a straightforward process, but when it comes to the finer details of web security, even VPNs can get really complicated, really fast.
One of the common buzzwords surrounding new services is the concept of a multi-hop VPN, sometimes called a double VPN. This feature adds an extra layer of encryption and anonymity by “bouncing” your signal through multiple nodes, thereby making it even more difficult to trace or crack your encrypted Internet activity.
Do you really need a multi-hop VPN, though? What benefits does it offer over standard VPNs, and which services deliver the best multi-hop experience? We’ll explore all of this and more in our featured guide below.
Understanding VPNs and multi-hop features doesn’t take an advanced degree in computer science. We’ll cover the basics of how Internet traffic and VPNs work below so you can get a firm grasp on the terminology.
A normal VPN works like a private tunnel between your device and the world wide web. It encrypts traffic leaving your local hardware, sends it through anonymizing servers, then receives encrypted traffic coming from the Internet. The entire process takes only fractions of a second, but it can dramatically alter your relationship with the online world.
To understand how VPNs operate, think of your ordinary interaction with the web. Let’s say you open a browser and type in addictivetips.com. What happens on a standard connection, and how does that change with a VPN? Below is a simplified look at each of those scenarios.
Standard route with no VPN:
Encrypted route with a VPN:
The encrypted setup describe above provides a ton of online security. It’s more than sufficient for the vast majority of web users, and it operates without slowing down traffic or getting in the way of daily online routines, too.
There are some weaknesses to the VPN methodology, however. If the service is compromised, whether by insiders working for the VPN themselves or by government agencies demanding secret records to be kept, your privacy could be destroyed without your knowledge. It’s also possible for hackers to correlate traffic going into a VPN’s server with the traffic that comes out, making it theoretically possible to find your location/identity even without decrypting the content.
Another overlooked issue with standard VPNs is logging. While most trustworthy services promise a strict zero-logging policy on traffic, there’s very little in the way of third party verification for these practices. In other words, no one is making sure the VPN follows through with their logging policies, so you’re not guaranteed to be secure in this scenario.
Now that you’re familiar with how VPNs do their thing, let’s take a look at multi-hop technology to see why it’s so unique.
Multi-hop VPNs aim to eliminate the problems associated with traffic correlation and reliable logging by introducing a new way to route traffic. Instead of one layer of encryption and one anonymous server handling data, multi-hop VPNs encrypt everything twice and send it through two servers. The process looks something like this:
Multi-hop VPNs are often called double VPNs, as they create a sort of tunnel within a tunnel that bypasses traditional problems of traffic correlation.
In a standard VPN scenario, your ISP or a cyber criminal could monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and use that to sniff out your identity. In the case of multi-hop, though, these third parties can only see data going into the first server, not the second. This makes it impossible to come up with any kind of traffic correlation, as no one can match data from multiple anonymized and encrypted sources.
Faulty logging policies and spying websites are also thwarted by multi-hop technology, much in the same way as ISPs and cyber criminals are defeated. The addition of a second layer of encryption and a second VPN server makes it impossible for traffic feeds to be associated with any single account, allowing for greater privacy and increased security.
One of the side effects of double VPN technology is the ability to bypass censorship walls in a variety of situations, including office, university, or even government-level firewalls. In fact, many people use multi-hop VPNs to access the open Internet in places like China.
The way this works is pretty simple. Censorship firewalls look for traffic’s origin and destination to decide whether or not to allow the connection. If you’re in China, for example, local ISPs may block traffic going towards U.S.-based sites. Trying to connect directly to VPN servers in the U.S. won’t bypass this, even with encrypted data packets.
Instead of a direct connection, try using multi-hop. This allows you to connect to a safer, allowed location first, such as servers in Europe, Canada, or Asia, then route your traffic through a U.S. server as the second “hop”. The censorship firewall thinks you’re accessing from one server location, while the destination site thinks you’re accessing from another.
The added security and privacy delivered by multi-hop VPNs doesn’t come without a few drawbacks. Overall, double VPN users can expect increased latency due to the added distance data travels, lower speeds, and higher demands on their hardware from all the encrypting and decrypting that goes on.
While multi-hop can provide some protection against dubious zero-logging policies, it can’t guarantee your privacy. For this reason, you should still avoid free VPN providers and any company that doesn’t have a stellar reputation among the online privacy communities.
Convinced multi-hop VPNs are for you? We checked out loads of reliable, top of the market VPNs and evaluated them on a variety of factors, including the strength of their multi-hop features. Our criteria and recommended selections are below.
Every VPN promises the best online privacy features, fastest speeds, and easiest to use software. When it comes to locking down your data with multi-hop technology (double VPN), however, only a few services deliver on those promises. We used the criteria below to evaluate the world’s top VPNs to find out which ones measured up to our expectations.
NordVPN is a popular VPN that runs a fast and impressively large network of servers. Joining gets you instant and unlimited access to over 5,250 servers in 62 countries, all available without a single limitation placed on bandwidth, speed, or server switching. This massive amount of variety delivers great speeds no matter where you connect from, ensuring you always have a fast connection ready to go.
NordVPN’s software comes with everything you need to stay safe online. This includes strong 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a zero-logging policy that covers time stamps, DNS requests, IP addresses, and traffic. It’s extremely easy to set up and use on all of your devices, too, as the VPN supports PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and other platforms by default!
NordVPN’s multi-hop feature is called “double VPN” or “double encryption”. Anyone can use it by switching to one of these unique servers at any time. You can also take advantage of DDoS protection and onion over VPN routing for added security.
Learn more about the NordVPN experience, including speed tests and security audits, in our full NordVPN review.
If you’ve been around the online privacy scene for a while, you might notice that multi-hop VPNs and onion routing (Tor) sound pretty similar. While it’s true that the technologies share some features in common, each one has a decidedly different use-case scenario you should be aware of.
Multi-hop VPNs are largely designed to bypass censorship walls and defeat traffic correlation attacks. The manner in which they do this adds extra anonymity and security, but that’s merely a side benefit, not a core goal.
Conversely, onion routing through programs like the Tor Browser was built for top shelf anonymity. Instead of twice the encryption and routing traffic through two servers, Tor does this a minimum of three times, often as many as five. This means a third layer of encryption to peel back and a third anonymous server to pass traffic around the world, making its anonymity practically unbeatable.
Tor carries the downside of being incredibly slow as compared to a standard Internet connection. It’s even slower than VPNs and multi-hop VPNs, largely due to the number of nodes traffic passes through along with the overall quality of those servers. Many websites and government agencies also specifically block Tor exit node traffic, rendering its censorship-breaking powers moot.
Want to learn more about Tor and onion routing? Check out our complete guide to using Tor.
If using a VPN carries some drawbacks, and using the Tor Browser has drawbacks, too, what would happen if you combined the two? The results aren’t always favorable, and many security experts debate whether or not it adds any effectiveness. Still, it’s technically possible to use Tor with a VPN, but only if you value privacy over performance.
Running Tor alongside a VPN encrypts data and sends it to the VPN first, then through Tor’s anonymizing network. This could make it more difficult to monitor exit nodes for traffic correlation, though it comes at the cost of losing a ton of speed. This method is generally reserved for journalists traveling in censorship-heavy areas who need to transmit a small amount of information overseas without getting caught.
Double VPN services, or multi-hop VPNs, add quite a bit of privacy and anonymity to your daily surfing activities. It’s a give and take relationship, however, as there are drawbacks paired with almost all of the advantages. Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect when using a double VPN service.
Pros of multi-hop:
Cons of multi-hop:
What’s the final verdict? If you need the extra privacy, or if bypassing censorship blocks is a high priority, multi-hop VPNs are absolutely worth your time. If you’re just looking for generalized protection from cyber threats and spying government agencies, however, using a regular single-route VPN will get the job done, and you’ll enjoy faster speeds for all of your downloading and streaming needs, as well.
Even if you have a subscription with a VPN service that offers multi-hop functionality, that doesn’t mean you have to leave it turned on all the time. In fact, you can get the best of both worlds if you sign up with a double VPN company but only toggle it on when you absolutely have to.
Many privacy experts argue whether or not multi-hop VPNs are overkill, or if they’re the next natural evolution of online security. Either way, if an attacker were to brute force decrypt your data, a standard VPN offers strong enough protection to keep you safe. It would take 1 billion billion years (yes, billion billion) to crack 128-bit encryption. Most VPNs offer 256-bit encryption, which is exponentially more difficult to hack.
Still, there are times when multi-hop VPNs are useful. If you find yourself in any of the situations below, consider checking into a double VPN service and activating it on all of your Internet-enabled devices:
Multi-hop VPNs offer a number of advantages and disadvantages when compared to a standard VPN. If you need the added privacy and anonymity, however, they make great tools for protecting your identity at all costs. Best of all, using a multi-hop VPN isn’t any more difficult than running a standard VPN.
Got any tips or tricks related to using multi-hop VPNs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Chrome uses your search history to help you enter search queries faster. You may need to search for the same thing over and over again, and in that case, this feature is incredibly useful. In other cases, once you no longer need that particular search query, it just becomes noise in the URL bar. Here’s how you can remove search history from Chrome on both the desktop and the mobile app.
This is a small but important distinction to make before you proceed. Your search history is the words or phrases that you type in the URL bar to search for something. Your browsing history is the pages that you visit.
For example, if you type in Ice Cream in the URL bar, it will become part of the search history. If you get search results for Ice Cream and visit one of those results e.g., Ben & Jerry’s, those pages will be part of your browsing history. Removing something from your search history has no impact on your browsing history. If you’re using Chrome in Incognito mode, your search history will not be saved.
To remove an item from your search history you need to open a new tab in Chrome. Click inside the URL bar and type the first few letters of the phrase. Continuing with my previous example, if you type in Ice, and you’ve previously searched for Ice Cream, Chrome will list it as a suggestion. Use the arrow keys or the mouse to highlight it and then tap the Shift+Delete keyboard shortcut to remove it.
Open a new tab in Chrome and enter the search word or phrase that you want to remove. When it appears in the suggestions, swipe left on it and you will see a delete button. Tap it to remove the entry from your search history.
We should mention that search history is one of the things that are synced if you have sync enabled in Chrome. If you searched for something on your desktop and removed it there, but repeated the search on your phone, the phrase will return on your desktop.
If you delete a phrase, it is deleted from all your devices. You don’t have to worry about sync adding it back after you’ve removed it unless you actively search the same phrase again. There is no way to delete your search history in bulk on either the desktop or the mobile version of the browser.