Working freelance is a dream for many people, because you can be your own boss, set your own hours, and have the freedom to travel anywhere in the world. You can also pick or choose who you want to work with, and you can take time off work or work harder for extra money whenever you want.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many workers have embraced freelance gigs, especially in the face of a major economic recession and high unemployment rates.
But with great freedom comes great responsibility. As a freelancer, you must make sure that you get your work done in a timely fashion and avoid distractions. You also have to take the necessary actions to ensure that your online work and financial data are kept secure from the numerous scams and security threats that we are exposed to on a daily basis, and which have increased by more than 273% since the pandemic began last year.
That’s why one of the most important duties of a freelancer worker is to equip yourself with a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Without this, you may be the weak point exposing not only your own data but also your client’s data to cyberattacks, which seriously have the potential to ruin your freelancing career.
Why Are People Turning To Remote Work?
It’s clear that more people have been turning to remote work, to the point that 80% of American workers say they would turn down a job that did not offer flexible work options. Subsequently, many companies are trying to incorporate remote or flexible work into their office culture.
But for many workers, this is unfortunately enough. Unemployment is high, startup businesses have been hit particularly hard, and there is simply much less economic opportunity than there was before the virus hit.
This is precisely why millions of people all over the globe have been turning to freelancing gigs in an effort to make money in whatever way they can. Freelancers and some people who work remotely also enjoy flexible hours and the ability to travel to work from anywhere they want. Freelancing also provides an excellent opportunity to scale yourself up as you build your portfolio and reputation to gain more clients, to the point that it’s very much possible to eventually make more money than you would at a salary-based job.
The Importance of Having A VPN As A Freelancer
Working as a freelancer provides you with numerous benefits, but it also means that you will have more responsibilities. Freelancers have to focus and work hard to produce results that their employers and clients are looking for.
One of the biggest responsibilities freelancers in particular have is ensuring that they can keep their data and the data of their clients protected. This is why one of the most important freelancer responsibilities is having a Virtual Private Network in place.
A good VPN provider will protect you from potential hackers and cyber attacks, which have grown more common since the pandemic hit. A common misconception people have is that cyber criminals only target major companies, which is very far from the truth.
Cybersecurity breaches are steadily increasing among small and mid-sized businesses and especially single users, simply because hackers know that they are the least likely to have thorough protections. Imagine being the reason your client’s company, that they’ve worked so hard to establish, experiences a huge data leak or cyber attack due to your negligence – what would that do for your relationship?
Did you know that 43% of companies have reported at one time being a victim of a targeted cyber attack? If anything goes horribly wrong, there is no company name for you to hide behind. These days, there is simply no excuse not to have a VPN because they are affordable and there are many different options to choose from.
Even if you are on your home WiFi network, there are many dangers to you and your client’s data. Even if a hacker is not in the nearby vicinity, they can use methods to determine your IP address and hack into all your files, stealing data and selling them on the dark web. You’re even more vulnerable if you are in an apartment complex, large city, or hotel.
Public Wifi at a cafe is even worse, because of the amount of traffic coming through and the lack of security from such connections. Traveling can be even more dangerous as some countries have a much more vulnerable environment for hacking than others.
Failing to take the appropriate action to protect your client’s data will greatly increase the risk that it becomes compromised, which in turn would deal a severe blow to your reputation. Information spreads quickly online, which in this case could mean negative reviews on your freelancing profile or worse. Securing client data is ultimately one of the best things you can do to effectively manage your reputation.
The good news is that there are many VPN options out there – some are even free of cost, although they do come with some drawbacks (we’ll get into that later). At any rate, if you are someone who works remotely or is a freelance worker, in 2021 there is simply no excuse not to ensure that you are utilizing a VPN.
How Does A VPN Work?
A VPN encrypts your internet connection and your activity, keeping your data and browsing history private.
It accomplishes this through masking your IP address, which is the number that identifies your personal computer and is essential to many hacking schemes. Using a VPN totally baffles cyber criminals, because the IP address they get from your connection is the IP address from the VPN service and not your personal IP address.
A VPN will also keep your geographical location a secret, which has numerous benefits. Anything you do online, whether work-related or personal, will be completely secret and untraceable. This is because VPNs utilize effective encryption protocols such as L2TP or SSTP to ensure that information sent online remains concealed.
As you can imagine, this is especially beneficial when sharing files with clients, as it keeps them secure and safe from prying eyes. As cybersecurity expert Barbara Ericson of Cloud Defense notes, “It’s important that you are aware of any assets in your existing software systems, including individual terminals, accounts, Internet-connected portals, and more. Basically, knowing everything that’s connected to an individual system will help you keep a sharp eye out for any potential vulnerabilities.”
Additional Benefits of A VPN
There are many additional benefits to investing in a good VPN provider. Free VPN services can work, but they also often have limited bandwidth and other restrictions, so despite all the other benefits, you may notice that your internet speed is not quite what it used to be.
Thankfully, there are several VPN providers that are affordable and that can actually enhance your internet speed. Think of how valuable this would be as a freelancer. Especially if you travel, you’re probably aware that public WiFi or hotel WiFi can be quite slow or spotty at best.
Another amazing benefit to having a VPN is that it conceals your geographical location. Many freelancers that travel complain that they are no longer able to visit their country’s websites anymore, because your connection will detect your location and automatically revert to the local country’s version of the website you are trying to view.
Anyone who has wanted to see the news in their home country, and has been frustrated by being constantly reverted back to the local version of the news source, can completely understand this inconvenience. After all, just because you are travelling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to stay connected with those at home.
A VPN also spares you from the targeted marketing that so many internet users complain about. Ever had a text conversation with your friend about something you were thinking about purchasing, and all of a sudden you start getting bombarded with ads about that same item? You can avoid all those sleazy targeted marketing ads by using a VPN when browsing the internet.
If you’ve made it this far into the article, you have no excuse not to set yourself up with a good VPN provider. It will keep your client’s data safe and secure and can enhance your browsing experience with faster internet speeds. You should fully embrace the freelance dream if that’s what you want, but also make sure you are prepared. Invest in a VPN now before you wish you had done it sooner.