Working for myself means that I spend a lot of time on my laptop in various locations. In the past, I spent most of the time connected to unsecured wifi such as those found in coffee shops or hotels. I have literally worked from all over the world in various hotel lobbies or restaurants sending and receiving various pieces of client data. This is why I think it is very important freelancers or small organisations look at having a VPN to make sure their data is secure.
So what is a VPN?
A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it encrypts any data that is sent or received to keep is safe. It can also mask your IP address which means that the location of your computer will be hidden. VPNs are a great way of keeping your data secure and private when on the internet and if you are not sure you want to invest you can always try a Free VPN service. There are so many VPN services available so I always recommend reading reviews like this Hotspot shield review which gives you a great breakdown of the pros and cons of the service.
Why do I need a VPN?
There are so many reasons that Freelancers or small business need a VPN that there are almost too many to list so I am going to share with you my top 5 reasons on why I use one to help to protect my business.
1 – It allows me to work safely on public wifi
I spend so much of my time connected to public wifi sites both in the UK and abroad that I need to make sure that my data is protected. This is really important in my line of work as I am handling sensitive personal data such as addresses and payment details. Since GDPR came into force last May, protecting this data has been even more important so knowing that I can send this to my clients when needed in a safe and secure way really helps to put my mind at ease.
2 – I can browse the internet anonymously
Much like going incognito on Google, having a VPN allows me to browse the internet anonymously as it masks my IP address. This is really useful for me when I am doing some research for a client or looking at how well some of my blog posts are performing.
3 – Avoid geolocation issues
Having a VPN allows me to access websites which might be region locked when travelling. This was really important when I was in Cuba on holiday as some of the google sites, including my business email, were blocked on the hotels’ wifi. It also prevented websites coming up in the local language which I know fellow travellers were finding frustrating.
4 – Allows my clients to feel confident about my data handling
For a lot of my clients, the fact that I handle personal data for them can be quite worrying, especially since the introduction of GDPR. For them, knowing I use a VPN to encrypt this data and ensure it is safe is a huge relief and it allows them to feel confident that I am handling their data and the data of our customers safely.
5 – Remote access to my desktop
The amount of times I have been away from home and realised I had left some important work on my desktop and not transferred it to my laptop is insane. Having a VPN means that I can securely remote access my desktop and retrieve the files. I can also retrieve files from my client’s servers when needed without having to keep a copy locally on my electronic devices.
If you handle any data that could be construed as sensitive and you connect to public wifi even on a rare occasion or if you just want the security to know your data is safe then I would definitely recommend that you look at trialling a free VPN service.