The past few years have seen data breach after data breach. Hundreds of millions of people have suffered a loss of privacy and personal information because of companies and firms not taking security seriously.
Equifax, Capital One, Cisco: These three and more have failed to maintain their user’s privacy, and these are only recent examples!
It’s clear that security sits low on these companies’ list of priorities. However, some companies continue to fight for user privacy. Apple, for instance, preaches about the importance of user privacy, all while calling out tech companies for not taking care of their users.
One company though is paving the way for increased awareness of security in the tech industry, and this company is Hewlett-Packard, better known as HP.
A Surprising (but Great) Partnership between HP and ExpressVPN
Since the company’s inception in 1939, HP has continued to rank among one of the more consumer-oriented companies, though HP is also popular among businesses as well.
But what’s bringing HP back to the spotlight, though? HP tends to play it safe with their products, so why the sudden focus?
To answer that, I point you towards their recent press release for their new laptop, the HP Spectre x360 13. Technically, it’s more of a revision than a brand new laptop, but you get the point.
In the press release, HP showcased numerous upgrades, such as the laptop’s thinner bezels, 22-hour battery runtime, CPU upgrade, and various other performance/aesthetic upgrades.
However, one thing caught the attention of many, including the cybersecurity industry: HP’s partnership with ExpressVPN. That’s right, HP is officially partnered with a VPN company, something I’ve yet to see.
This doesn’t mean HP will be creating their own VPN or anything like that, but it does mean that ExpressVPN will come preinstalled on the new HP Spectre x360 13, along with a free 30-day trial of the VPN program.
While this may not sound like much, it’s important to understand why it’s a big deal. Security programs being bundled with hardware isn’t anything new. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen Norton Antivirus or McAfee bundled with the newest laptops.
But a VPN program? I can count the number of times I’ve seen that, and it’s 1. One time, which is now. Not many know what a VPN even is, and while the usage of VPNs has grown considerably the past few years, the majority haven’t even touched one.
HP bringing VPNs to users with their extremely popular laptop series is a step in the right direction. Not many will seek VPNs out, as many either 1.) don’t know what VPNs are or 2.) don’t care enough about their security and privacy on the Internet. But who can say no to free things?
Having ExpressVPN preinstalled on the laptop–along with the free trial–ensures the people who don’t use a VPN at least get the chance to find out what it is and the benefits it brings with its usage.
This is especially important for laptop users, as laptop users rely on public networks, which are unsecure–prone to hackers and cybercriminals. Don’t take it from me though, take it from chief technologist Mike Nash from HP, who had this to say on the matter:
“Our customers connect to a variety of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks on a daily basis, often without realizing the security and privacy risks…We are excited to be adding ExpressVPN to the set of security offerings for our consumer customers.”
So while this partnership seems like a minor footnote in an otherwise great press release, it’s much more. Sure, we can’t expect much to happen in the short-term, as the adoption of technologies–especially software–takes time. However, in the long term, I believe this partnership will have more influence over the industry, whether HP planned on that or not.
ExpressVPN’s Future Plans
While HP may be content with their partnership, ExpressVPN aims for more. According to their HP partnership post, the company plans on more partnerships and, consequentially, more exposure for VPNs and cybersecurity.
“And HP is not the only major technology brand that recognizes the need for VPNs—we’re excited to say that in the coming months we’ll have even more partnership announcements to share.”
VPN companies have actually been pushing for more exposure in the past couple of years. I’ve seen many content creators sponsored by numerous VPN companies in the past year, which is something I would’ve never expected back in 2017.
It’s clear that these VPN companies are aiming for more exposure, but not for their company. No, these companies want to bring awareness to the general populace about the dangers of the Internet and why security software is necessary, not optional.
Will they succeed? With ExpressVPN partnering with multiple tech companies, other VPN companies sponsoring popular content creators, and even security software like LastPass pushing for more exposure, I don’t see why not.
The cybersecurity industry is the perfect example of an industry that, while unappreciated and underrated, is growing to unprecedented heights. With VPNs gradually becoming adopted tools of security among the general populace and password managers become a part of everyday life for many, security is improving for the average user, but it’s up to tech companies to help these security tools flourish.
HP and ExpressVPN’s partnership represents this. Sure, both companies would be just fine working by themselves, but their working together accomplishes two things: exposing each other’s products to other people and helping each other’s industries to grow.
The specs of HP’s new laptop are impressive, but HP’s willingness to aid the cybersecurity industry is exciting.
If you’re interested in HP’s Spectre 13 and the chance to test drive ExpressVPN’s security software, you’ll have your chance to mid-October when the laptop releases, though a specific release date has not been given. If you’re worried about security while hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop (like me), then this may be the laptop for you.