Being a digital nomad is exciting, but it does also have a level of risk. Here are some tips to stay safe.
1. Invest In A Reliable VPN
While free wi-fi at shopping malls, airports, and coffee shops may come in handy when on the move, they aren’t particularly secure. Connecting to any of these without protection exposes your devices/data to all manner of cyber threats, a reason you ought to be careful. A virtual private network (VPN) creates an encrypted tunnel when connected to public networks, protecting your devices and sensitive data from prying eyes. This is especially important, considering your devices hold lots of confidential data, including banking and personal information.
Investing in a reliable VPN service will help:
– Encrypt your connection and data
– Prevent malicious individuals from accessing your info
– Block phishing attempts on your device
– Make it virtually impossible for online advertisers to monitor, track, or profile you
– Unblock content and sites blocked from that region.
There are plenty of VPN service providers to choose from. NordVPN is an excellent and preferred option by many. Whatever your preferred VPN is, it should provide the required security and encryption needed to keep your data safe. The VPN not only needs to be feature-rich (privacy-oriented) but also have fast servers as well. The last thing you want is for the VPN to bottleneck your speeds, making the internet unusable. VPN providers also offer different packages for one to choose from. Be sure to go for the best one for your specific needs.
2. Use Your Mobile Hotspot
Creating a mobile hotspot is relatively easy today. Even the most basic smartphone enables one to share their mobile connection with other devices. Smartphone hotspots provide an easy and secure way to connect to the internet when on the move, but only for a few hours. You can however invest in a portable MIFI to provide a dedicated internet connection as well. All you’d need is a data-activated sim card to use the internet securely. With a mobile hotspot, you’ll never have to worry about sharing the connection with someone else.
Although buying a separate sim card for data might be enough for many, it can be challenging when/if you travel to different countries a lot. There are however several fixes for this. A good example of this is Skyroam, which provides a global hotspot feature enabling users to use one device to access local internet from whatever country they are. The device comes exceptionally in handy in areas with little to no Wi-fi connection, such as when on the train or in remote areas of the country.
3. Backup Your Data Regularly
Regular data backups are your first line of defense against possible data breaches and corrupt data, especially for someone who moves about a lot. The chances of losing your laptop, phone, or portable hard drives are quite high when you travel a lot. For this reason, it would be advisable to back up your data to safe storage. You can back up the data on a USB stick, an external hard drive, or an online drive.
Virtual data backup solutions allow you to upload your files to a secure server remotely. You only need a strong internet connection to upload the files to the cloud server. CrashPlan is a good example of a cloud backup solution offering unlimited storage for all your files. They offer free and premium options where you only pay $10 monthly for continuous data backup. You might however need to have their app installed to your phone or laptop to enable automatic sync when changes are made to your files.
4. Use a Password Manager
We are all guilty of using the same password across several websites and platforms. Most of us use almost similar and weak passwords on our shopping, email, and several other personal accounts. One of the reasons for this is that complicated passwords are easy to forget. With a password manager, you’ll never have to remember all the different passwords for your accounts. Even better, they help generate a strong enough password- hard for hackers to crack. The other advantage of investing in a password manager is that it makes sharing passwords easy, especially when working on a project with teammates or clients. The password manager automatically makes the necessary updates, especially if you choose to change to a stronger password. All they’ll need is to have the password manager installed and set up; everything will fall in place. You thus won’t have to email everyone the password update. LastPass and Kaspersky password manager are some of the best options you can try. They offer both free and paid options depending on your specific needs.
5. Invest In A Good Backpack
Let’s face it; you are always on the move. You thus need a solid bag to keep all your digital devices and other items safe and secure. Why not invest in the ultimate backpack to make this possible? This means going for a bag with features designed to keep everything safe and intact. Some of the features a digital nomad should look for when shopping for the ultimate backpack include:
– Interlocking, puncture-resistant, and robust zippers
– Stainless steel wire mesh in the most vulnerable parts of the bag – keep slash-and-grab thieves at bay
– A stainless-steel locking cables
– Comfortable and lightweight
6. A GPS Tracker
GPS trackers aren’t meant for automobiles alone. You too, can take advantage of these devices to help locate your equipment and find your way with ease. Mini-GPS trackers, for example, are handy too, making your life much easier when traveling abroad. As a digital nomad, you can use such devices for:
I. Your Gear
Mini-GPS trackers are quite small. You can thus hide one deep in the backpack, especially if carrying expensive equipment. This way, you’d still be able to track your bag if stolen or misplaced. While this doesn’t guarantee your equipment will be safe, it is better than nothing. You could get lucky and find everything intact.
Unless on your home turf, digital nomads love exploring the unknown. There are times when you’ll want to try a new trail or go hiking in a remote part of the area. Having a GPS tracker on you can make it easier to find your way back or, even better, allow others to find you if/when lost. You never know when you’ll need help when out in the wild.
GPS trackers have gotten better and smaller over time. You can toss one in your backpack and forget about it. Some people even have these trackers on their necklaces, braces, etc. They are quite affordable too. Advanced GPS trackers also come complete with microphones and several other handy features. You’ll however need to be careful when using such devices overseas, especially in countries that take data protection seriously.
7. Travel Insurance
We can never stress enough the importance of working abroad insurance. Traveling to different regions and places exposes you to new dangers and risks, a reason you want to get enough cover against the same. Travel insurance will prove useful if you get in trouble or are sick overseas. The insurance should cover, among other things, Minor expenses (in case you need to see a doctor), hospital expenses (surgeries, allergies, and other medical emergencies), transport back to your home country, and search and rescue should there be an incident.
These are some of the easiest and best ways to stay safe as a digital nomad. It is wiser to consider all these measures and act on them than stay unprotected and fall victim to digital fraud or worse. Some research would also be needed to identify the best products to invest in to safeguard your digital privacy.