Flexible schedules, remote contracts, and work from anywhere arrangements are growing in popularity, especially because of the global pandemic and corporate business continuity missions. But that also means there will be a higher demand for Wi-Fi services. Most cybersecurity breaches are initiated from wireless networks and have far-reaching effects: financial damages, identity thefts, and data leaks. This is why all freelancers and online workers, including you, should keep your iOS VPN up and running in 2021 and beyond!
Cyber Threats Associated with Freelancing
Freelancers work using only two tangible assets: their computers and Wi-Fi devices. They are self-employed and have this responsibility to protect their devices as well as their client’s sensitive data. Minor security leaks or data breaches can not only lead to exposure of data on open platforms but also initiate financial damages and legal actions. Here are all the reasons why using a VPN is paramount for freelancers:
- Encrypt online traffic
This software, whether it is on a computer, your browser, an Android device or it’s an iOS VPN app, establishes a secure tunnel on a conventional network and passes your internet traffic through that tunnel. That’s why it is called a Virtual Private Network because it maintains data privacy even on a shared network. It hides your IP Address, which means the websites you visit will not know it’s YOU. This is the one and only way to secure data in transit. To ensure 100% encryption, go for a service provider that offers 256-bit AES technology, has dedicated apps, and can be configured on a Wi-Fi router.
- Stay protected on public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are weak. Any online entity might penetrate the network with only minimal effort and sniff users’ sensitive data packets. A VPN hides IP Addresses, which means you remain almost anonymous on the public network. Now whether you are working on a new ebook, creating digital art, writing your client’s website copy, developing a code or anything else that you want to keep private, remains strictly private with a VPN.
- Secure Client’s Data
Freelancers perform different jobs and so they handle data of different clients from diverse backgrounds. Bloggers have access to WordPress panels while customer care professionals have spreadsheets of personally identifiable information. In such cases, virtual assistants are at the highest risk of data leaks because they have huge amounts of data files in their devices. When you browse without a VPN, especially on open unsecured platforms, you may end up losing your client’s information to cybercriminals who may make any unethical or illegal use of such information.
- Prevent Financial and Legal Consequences
A freelancer was sued by a German family lawyer for selling the data of 122 families on the dark web without any permission or notice from the lawyer. He had to face severe financial damages only because of a single mistake: he was updating the case status for his German client but was using public Wi-Fi. The freelancer was locked out of the data, which was later held hostage for some handsome ransom. This data breach did not only cost the freelancer a huge amount of money but his honor and his reputation and became a question mark on his professional ethics. So it’s ideal to activate your VPN software before working, whether at home or in a coworking space.
- Access Geo-Restricted Data Libraries
Freelancers, as we mentioned earlier as well, need to work with clients from diverse geographic backgrounds. They need access to important data which may include the survey results, experiment findings, employee salaries, etc. Freelancers can find most of this data in their client’s data libraries or company portals, however, most of these data centers are banned in selected countries to prevent privacy breaches. With a VPN, you can unlock any data library present in any distinct part of the world. View the data, study it, analyze it and make recommendations to the client without geo-restrictions.
Other Cybersecurity Steps for Freelancers and Remote Workers
- Avoid banking on public Wi-Fi.
- Only use public Wi-Fi when it’s urgent. Verify the scanned network SSID to the one provided by the organization.
- Install a premium Antivirus software for device-level security
- Update the apps and operating system of your computing and cellular devices
- Use strong passwords on social media, company portals, business accounts, and payment gateways
- Consider using a secure email provider like Tutanota
- Exchange password-protected attachments through email, skype, and other platforms
- Contact the support staff, assigned authority, or the team supervisor in case of data braches
Reputable companies have their Virtual Private Network subscriptions and when they hire employees, they do provide them with the credentials of their VPN packages. As a freelancer, you can either ask your client for the credentials or activate your own VPN software for maintaining cybersecurity and online privacy standards.