According to a recent study done by the biggest freelance platform in the world – Upwork – there was 56.7 million freelancers in the US in 2018, and the number just keeps growing.
Among other things, freelancing provides better work-life balance, more flexibility and great opportunities, which is why more and more people are opting for this lifestyle.
However, freelancing is not pure benefits and no downsides. This type of work comes with uncertainty and great responsibility.
But there is another issue that is often neglected by freelancers – the lack of security while working online.
While most companies make sure to implement strong security measures to protect their sensitive data, freelancers usually don't have that luxury, and many don't even see the need for it. However, there are various dangers lurking online that could cost both freelancers and their clients a lot.
So, if you've decided to ditch the old 9 to 5 lifestyle to become a freelancer, it's time to start thinking about security and privacy – both yours and your clients'. That's when your biggest ally will be a VPN service.
What Is a VPN?
For those who already know what VPN is, feel free to skip this section. And for those who don’t, here's a quick summary.
Every time you connect to the Internet, you are actually sending and receiving data through your connection. When you're not using a VPN, that data can be seen by anyone who wishes to see it – your Internet service provider, the government or cybercriminals.
But with a VPN, your connection first goes to the VPN server which changes your IP address, making it seem like you're accessing the Internet from a different location. On top of that, VPN encrypts all that data and hides your online activities from prying eyes.
Why Do You Need a VPN?
Hackers, spyware, censorship – you name it, it's out there. Every day when you're online, whether you're working on your client's confidential project, purchasing a new watch or talking to a friend, you are running a risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime and privacy breach.
So, here are some reasons why you should start using a VPN as soon as today.
Protect Confidential Data – Your freelance projects don't have to be top-secret, but your clients definitely wouldn't want their business information seen by just anyone. Your clients expect you to keep their data private, especially if you've signed an NDA. A VPN will help you protect your and your client's privacy and give you that peace of mind.
Download and Share Files Safely – As a freelancer, you are probably exchanging files with your clients on a daily basis. But have you ever wondered about the safety of those transactions? Without a VPN, your connection is vulnerable; especially if you're using a public Wi-Fi. Anybody can intercept your connection and compromise your important files.
Guard Your Finances – Aside from sensitive data and important files, you're probably handling something much more valuable to you online – your money. And since you're a freelancer, the stakes are much higher because all your financial transfers are happening online. It's a scary thought that someone could just steal your password or credit card details and snatch your savings.
Evade Geo-Restrictions – Another important thing, especially for digital nomads, is being able to access your work files and reach your clients no matter where you are. Unfortunately, that freedom is not possible everywhere in the world. If you're traveling a lot, you could easily get in a situation where you can't freely use the Internet and access the websites you need. A VPN prevents this and helps you circumvent geo-restrictions.
Choosing the Best VPN for Freelancers
Now you know that you need a VPN to help you stay safe while working online, but how do you choose the best VPN for freelancers?
The thing is, there are many online privacy tools out there that are not quite as safe as you think. And there are VPN services suitable for gamers, streamers, companies, etc. but you'll need to find one perfect for your needs, so here's what you need to pay attention to:
1. Powerful Encryption
A good VPN service will have airtight encryption. This means that all the traffic coming and going from your computer is completely coded and nobody except you can actually see your online activity or break into your device. Although there are several types of encryption, you should make sure your chosen VPN uses some of the proven encryption protocols like IPSec, PPTP, L2TP or OpenVPN.
2. No Logging Policy
A lot of VPNs (especially the free ones) are actually spyware in disguise, so you should be careful to avoid them. And even though many of these VPN providers promise to keep your data private, that's not always the case, which means that you're risking confidential data. Many of them can actually share or sell users' data or can be forced to do so by the authorities. Make sure to choose a VPN with a strong no logging policy that makes sure your online activities are never shared with a third party – simply because they are not recorded.
3. Fast Connection
One problem that could arise when using a VPN is a slower Internet connection. Depending on the server you're using, you can experience slight or more noticeable speed changes. And that's the last thing you need while you're working. A good VPN for freelancers should be unobtrusive and be able to maintain a fast connection at all times
4. Wide Range of Servers
If you're planning to use a VPN for work, you need to make sure your provider offers a wide range of server locations all over the world. This is important for two reasons. First of all, the server you choose will directly affect your connection speed, as we already mentioned. The closer the server to your actual location, the faster your connection. And secondly, a good choice of servers will help you easily bypass geo-restrictions and always access the websites and apps you need no matter where you are.
SwitchVPN to the Rescue
Even though all these factors may make you think choosing the best VPN for freelancers is close to rocket science, it's actually not that difficult. You just need to find a VPN that covers all these aspects.
SwitchVPN is an ideal VPN for freelancers because it provides up-to 256-bit SSL encryption, 220+ high-speed servers in 38 locations around the world, and you can be sure your data is perfectly safe with a strict no logging policy.