One of the biggest perks of being a freelancer is the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Being your own boss affords you a ton of freedom, and your workplace could be a variety of places, whether that be a coffee shop, a library or hotel. If you’re a freelancer, chances are you rely heavily on your computer. Without an office, your laptop is literally your lifeline — abox that contains all of your projects, emails, personal information and so much more.
But with the liberty of freelancing comes a greater risk of being hacked, especiallyif you are often connecting to different WiFi signals. Since freelance and remote workers are often doing work on-the-go, the likelihood that you’ll connect to public hotspots is high. While no Internet connection type is guaranteed to protect you from viruses or hackers, connecting to public WiFi hotspots puts you at a higher risk. As there are many unknowns, it’s impossible to tell if the connection is secure. Compared to a password-protected WiFi network at home, or a 4G connection, free public Internet is the least safe way to surf the web.
Protect Your Data
Luckily, there are ways you can help to secure your WiFi connection.Have you ever heard of a VPN service? A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, uses encryption technology to create the anonymity and security of a private connection. As The Huffington Post puts it, “A Virtual Private Network acts as a secure tunnel for your Internet traffic, shielding it from outside view when you’re on a public, unsecured network.” No matter where you are, if you are connected to a VPN then you can access the Internet without any worry.
There are other reasons to consider using a VPN too. For example, did you know that in 2017 the Republican government voted in favor of allowing Internet service providers to share and sell your web browsing history? This means that sensitive information such as your Social Security number, credit card details and passwords are up for grabs. Thankfully, a VPN will also keep surveillance at bay.
Avoid Restrictions While Traveling
Using a VPN can also allow you to access important websites and streaming services no matter where you live. If you’re a freelancer, perhaps you take advantage of travel opportunities that your flexible schedule affords. But when travel takes you out of your home country, it can sometimes be difficult to do your work as you normally would at home. Different countries have different access to online media, and whether you need to read a certain article that’s blocked because of censorship, or view a particular YouTube video, you could come up against restrictions.
If you are connected to a VPN, there’s no way for the government to track your IP (Internet Protocol) address. This means you’re free to access content as if you were in your home country. This is also particularly important for freelance journalists and political activists working in restrictive countries.
Whether you want to protect your privacy or access information freely while abroad, using a VPN service can help.