One of the greatest benefits of being a freelancer is the ability to work from anywhere. Traveling as a freelancer allows you to see the world, experience new cultures, and live out your dreams. All while making money to support your lifestyle. However, when it’s just you and your computer and you are dealing with client data regularly, caution is essential. Especially when you’re visiting new and unfamiliar destinations.
If you are looking to get on the road, then you must first read this guide. Here, we will talk about the importance of protecting client data and your own finances when traveling. We will also provide some great tips for securing your devices. That way, you can focus less on the threats and more on your work.
The Importance of Planning Ahead when Traveling as a Freelancer
You must prepare to protect yourself, your data, and the information of your customers before you leave your home. If you don’t take cautious steps, any data stolen could result in the end of your business. It’s not an over-exaggeration. Every 39 seconds, a computer is hacked, and in many instances, cybercriminals target freelancers and small businesses because they know that many entrepreneurs are more focused on getting their business off of the ground than they are about protecting it against cyber threats.
This is not a situation to take lightly. Regardless of the content you write or the work you do, any personal details, a hacker may use the stolen information for malicious means. It may even end up on the black market. If you are hacked, the cost for a business to repair their situation, find lost data, and get back on their feet is about $9,000. If you are a freelancer, that can be tough to come back from, and repairing the damage will be even more difficult if you are in a foreign country or a new place with little chance to catch your breath.
While we will talk about protecting your devices from cyberattacks, you also need to create a strategy to protect your data and your hard work in case your computer is lost or malfunctions. A good way to prepare is by setting your business up on a cloud service like Google Drive or ADrive. This not only allows you to access your work from anywhere, but you can also easily recover the data if you lose your device.
If you are planning on traveling far from home, you will want to prepare ahead of time to ensure that you also have continuous employment so you can fund your adventures, and a great way to gain new clients is by handing out business cards. You can design your own with your company logo and all of your contact info, including your phone number and email. Pass these out as you go about your travels. Consider purchasing an international phone plan so your clients can always reach you.
Read Up On Common Scams
You’ll want to take some time to read up on common cybersecurity scams to avoid becoming a victim. Before you even get into the technical threats, you should always keep your devices on your person at all times. Theft can happen at any time, even in offices and classrooms, and once a criminal has your device in their possession, they can access your data and use the contact information of your clients to hack their devices as well.
Traveling as a freelancer, you should take the proper precautions to protect your data from the threat of man-in-the-middle attacks. This is a scam that is typically set up in public places like coffee shops and restaurants. Hackers create fake Wi-Fi networks that look like the official network, but if someone connects, they are really connecting directly to the hacker. The problem is that these fake networks can sometimes appear to be free. An attractive Wi-Fi option for a freelancer on a budget. If you must use public Wi-Fi, always ask an employee at the establishment for the correct network.
While you are out on the road, you are likely to get many emails from new people and potential clients, but you must be careful because opening every message without caution could result in a phishing attack. Hackers are those who send out phishing emails. Their goal is to get you to click a link or open an attachment that will ultimately install a virus or malware onto your system. They try to trick people by capturing their sense of curiosity. In your case, it might appear to be from a new client with a lucrative job offer. If you do get a message that seems too good to be true, look up the company and call them directly.
General Tips for Protecting Your Devices
The key to preventing common scams and mitigating the damage if you do fall victim is to secure your data with some travel-specific means such as using secure travel sites and disabling auto-connect. You must secure all of your programs with strong passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. You can pair your password with a form of two-factor authentication for double protection.
Next, you need to build a cybersecurity fortress. This will prevent hackers from gaining access and erase the threats if they happen to get through. Start by installing a firewall, which will stop hackers in their tracks. Next, you should install a virtual private network (VPN). This will disguise your location at all times so hackers can’t find you even if they try.
Continue Reading: 5 reasons to freelance abroad
And with that…
Finally, traveling as a freelancer means that you need to find and install antivirus software on your computer and smartphone. Once installed, run scans every week and be proactive in updating the software to protect against the latest threats. In fact, all software should be updated as often as possible. This is because the new versions will offer stronger protection.
This may seem like a lot to take in, but by implementing proper protections, you can enjoy your travels more. By knowing you are safe, you can focus on your work and the beauty of every new location you visit.