Why Freelancers Need VPN: 2021 Edition
If you are a freelancer, you understand the extent of your dependence on technology. You have to manage the IT department and perform information security audits too. And if you are already doing these two tasks, we assume you do have an active VPN by your side. And if not, you probably need to reexamine the cybersecurity standards of your business. Read this article and explore why all freelancers need a VPN in 2021 and onwards.
Importance of VPN for Freelancers: A Casestudy
Most freelancers take pride in earning using only two things: their laptops and their Wi-Fi routers (for stable internet connections). While these are the most primary, and often the only tangible assets they invest in their business, it is their responsibility to keep the security and privacy of their clients’ data intact, which is nearly impossible without a VPN.
Before we move on to the reasons, here is a story of a freelancer. He served as a virtual assistant and lost all he could earn during his 8 years of career, only because of single negligence.
*We have kept this freelancer’s identity confidential for maintaining digital privacy and anonymity.
“As an ex-agency email marketer, I had started my career in virtual assistance when freelancing was not a popular model. Digital security was also only a baby concept. It was a serious shift for me but soon I started loving my financial freedom. Back then, people would never take my profession seriously, and as a perk, they could never accurately estimate my income. 8 years down in this career, I had worked with clients from different locations: a kitchen blog run by a single mom in Ireland, a small logistics company owned by a 66-year old grandfather in Puerto Rico, a scarves seller in Dominica.”
How it started…
“Things were fine until I met a German lawyer and started working for him.
The client provided me with attractive gigs: $28/hour in those years were nothing less than manna from heaven. He wanted me to look after his online presence: the marketing content on his baby website, emails, meeting calendars, client assistance and follow-up and everything else I could do to skyrocket the growth of his programming business. This lawyer once sent me an excel spreadsheet containing the personal cellphone numbers, nature of disputes, user IDs, business domains, tax numbers and some residential addresses too. AND, he never mentioned anything to me about using a VPN – also, digital precautions were non-existent. The international governments had recently started looking into cybersecurity issues and were initiating safe internet campaigns. A bounty hunter, which I met in-person after the dreadful forensic proceedings, hacked my device and replicated the mentioned excel sheet which contained the most sensitive data of my client.
Sitting in a restaurant for free Wi-Fi and scheduling the meetings for my client was the ONLY mistake I had made. Not only that cyber attack traced the patterns of my online behavior, he also started calling my client and blackmailed him. He used my name and my digital identity to assure my client that it was ME who was threatening him. The gig I had once loved dearly, suddenly became a nightmare. This German lawyer had to face a serious trust deficit from his own clients and here I was, considered guilty for the crime I wasn’t even aware of. German currency was very strong at that time. After conversion and currency exchange, I was left with no money except that I had lent to my brother. I was under heavy debt, owed money to my client and all the people I had emailed from that restaurant.”
5 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Use a VPN
If this desperate fellow’s terrible experience did not convince you enough, here are 5 solid reasons why all freelancers, including you, should invest in a premium VPN service today!
Encrypt online traffic
As a freelancer, you must be working on your next masterpiece, a logo design, an autobiography, or an app, and you definitely don’t want your idea to leak before you deliver the masterpiece to your client. That’s where you need a VPN: to protect your work, including all of your online activities from competitors, and ISPs. Remember that a VPN lets its user mask the IP Address, which means that any attacker who attempts to steal your work or information will only see the IP of your VPN service, not yours. Plus, that attacker would not be able to find out what you actually did online.
Achieving this level of privacy and security in the digital world is only possible for freelancers who have a reliable VPN service that guarantees military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption.
Secure client’s data
Clients show a great deal of trust at the time of hiring freelancers using an applicant tracking system. Depending upon the nature of work, they hand over their sensitive data: supplier and customer information, login credentials and passwords of major platforms, bills, and other important documents believing that they will only be utilized for the sake of work and nothing else. It implies that you, as a freelancer, ought to handle this data with immense care and attention. This, again, is not possible without 100% encryption of communication platforms.
Any cyber attacker can steal this data and directly or indirectly threaten you or your client for ransom. He can choose to upload this data on the dark web, misuse it for illegal and unethical activities, or sell it to third-party advertising agencies. Put simply, only a VPN can prevent inexplicable consequences of data theft.
Control confidentiality breaches and prevent legal actions
Certain companies can take legal action against you or your partners in case of a confidentiality breach. Most companies do mention such clauses in their hiring policies or cybersecurity standards, and even if they don’t, digital security laws in some countries authorize organizations to sue or fine individuals who contribute to data theft leading to defamation or reputation damage. To protect yourself against hefty fines and legal consequences, tech gurus suggest freelancers to only exchange and store data on secure platforms, which is exactly what a VPN is made for.
Protect identity on public Wi-Fi
If you are a freelancer, you must have at least used public Wi-Fi once in your lifetime. Even if you don’t love to use free coffee shop hotspots for working, a power outage or poor connectivity may still force you to use one. These networks are highly exposed to vulnerabilities and any attacker can easily penetrate these networks and steal sensitive data of active users.
Some hackers also generate evil twin attacks to collect sensitive public information. They create dummy Wi-Fi hotspots, often identical in name and range, and once a user inserts his credentials without verification, all of his data gets hacked in a minute. As mentioned earlier, they can make as many illegal uses of your online identity as they want. They can impersonate you or your client and use personal details to fund serious crimes including terrorist activities. Therefore, using a VPN is paramount to digital security when you are using free public Wi-Fi service. Subscribe to a trusted VPN service and work using public networks with peace of mind.
Access geo-restricted content libraries
Freelancers, while researching, often wish to read censored archives. They also sometimes work with clients who have their data centres in distinct regions of the world. Most of these data libraries have geo-restrictions or the local government has banned them. In order to access, or utilize that data, you need a tool that would help bypass local and international censorships. A VPN makes global content available to you wherever you are.
When you sign up for a VPN service, you get access to its premium global servers. You can simply connect via your preferred servers, from your desired locations and view the content of your choice. Not only freelancers, but individuals of all ages and geographic backgrounds trust VPNs for accessing their favorite international content including shows, series and movies on unlimited bandwidth without any restrictions.
Being your own boss is definitely a pleasant thought. But what if freelancing becomes the biggest security threat for you or your clients? Can you afford losing a client, associated opportunities and all the honor you have earned because of your profession? If not, this is the biggest reason why freelancers like you need VPN. Take the plunge today! Subscribe to iProVPN and rest assured because with this protective shield, your online activities are ONLY your business!
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