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IPVanish: Fast, Secure and Private — An Interview With the VP

As privacy concerns grow, consumers are looking for solutions to keep their internet use private, secure, and unrestricted.  Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide an ideal solution but not all are created equal. Jeremy Palmer, Vice President of IPVanish, discusses VPN’s, user security, and why people need to know that if they aren’t the customer, they are the product.

Tell us about IPVanish, the history of the company and what it does.

IPVanish was founded in 2013 and is the brainchild of the Highwinds network group. Highwinds understood that its existing infrastructure of hardware, including servers, fiber, and data centers, could be leveraged for other services - which led to the launch of our VPN division, IPVanish, one of the larger VPN services in the world.  Today, IPVanish has over 200 employees consisting of engineers, managers, finance professionals, and support staff, with clientele from over 180 countries around the world.

How did you get involved in VPN technology?

I started as a privacy advocate, web engineer and affiliate marketer with a passion for the privacy and security industry. I started consulting for Highwinds in 2013 and joined the company shortly thereafter, within the newly-formed IPVanish. At first, I was in the marketing department but soon entered product development as well.  Today, I run the product and marketing departments of IPVanish.

There are hundreds of VPNs on the market – what makes IPVanish unique?

What separates us from most of the competition is that we own 95% of our hardware – rack and stack. We run our own data centers, fiber, cables, and servers – every component that matters. This allows us complete control over the user experience and enables us to optimize for both speed and security.  Not only do we deliver some of the best speeds in the industry, but we inspire confidence in our users because no other entities have access to our infrastructure – just us.

What products and services does IP Vanish provide to clients?

We’re specialists.  Other providers have moved from VPN into other spaces – but we haven’t really.  We specialize in fast, secure VPN and we pride ourselves on that. That's not to say we won't diversify in the future, but for now, we are laser-focused on providing the fastest, most secure VPN on the market.

Can you describe who your clients are – enterprise vs private?

While we do have some business clients, we’re primarily focused on the consumer. Our customers are people who are looking to keep their information private from internet service providers (ISPs), Google, and the government, or travelers who need to conduct businesses on public Wi-Fi.

How do you ensure that user data is kept private?

Our entire company is involved in the setup and transparency of our network.  Everyone, from the Chief Legal Officer to the Chief Compliance Officer, is on the same page, understands the mission and the architecture of our service.  The entire company is focused on privacy. Other companies have been called out on this issue, typifying the well-known adage that “if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.” In contrast, we charge our customers a fair price for the service but don’t use user data or sell advertisement spaces. We’re focused on providing a fast, good connection.

How do you see VPN’s as a tool changing as we move forward?  Will it grow or become more of a standard?

Absolutely! We have seen a lot of growth, particularly during the last two years. VPNs are essentially ISPs you can trust. We, rather than your ISP or other online organizations, are the ones that provide you real privacy.  We provide a choice between a network that has your interests in mind, is private, unrestricted, and secure versus a network that is constantly gleaning your data to leverage it for profit. Specifically, at IPVanish, we aim to be the largest private, secure, and open VPN out there.

How do people ensure that they are not being data harvested?

For many companies, data is their “oil” – an extremely valuable commodity. Consumers need to become more educated and to understand who has access and is taking advantage of their data.

How do you see Facebook-style targeting and data use issue playing out?

Over the last few months, there has certainly been a revolt of sorts: “We are tired of our data being abused – give us our privacy.”  GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a reaction to consumers saying, “we don’t want you to harvest our data.” These companies, like Facebook, are going to have to go to great lengths to protect user data. While it will never be 100%, they can no longer abuse user data as they have in the past.  These companies will really have to work hard to develop and comply with both regulatory and public demands. Ultimately, this is a positive development for the industry.

About the Author

Eytan Morgenstern is a seasoned technology writer. He loves learning about new innovations, meeting the people behind them, and sharing their story.

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