You used to have to make the choice: See the world or earn a living. Pick the latter, and you had a life of stability and financial security, albeit one with the humdrum sameness of staying still. Choose the other, and you got to experience the world’s rich smorgasbord. You just might run out of money. 

Technology upended that dilemma. The increasing shift toward online work facilitated the rise of what’s known as “digital nomadism.” Digital nomads travel the world, visiting new locales as they earn a full-time living. Their day job allows them to keep travelling, and the relatively low cost-of-living elsewhere in the world lets them live a life of modest luxury. 

There’s only one catch – security. Working online requires you to keep your data safe from criminals and secure from loss. Not everywhere in the world plays by the same rules, so keeping your devices secure means being extra vigilant and proactive. 

If you’re considering a life of digital nomadism, keep these essential security tips in mind. 

Use Antivirus Protection and a Quality VPN

Antivirus protection is vital for any device, but it takes on special importance when living and working abroad on a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). If your laptop contains your work, as well as your company’s data, you need to ensure that it’s protected against malware, including ransomware, trojans, adware and more. Before you jet-set, get antivirus protection from Malwarebytes on each of your devices. 

You also need a VPN. Many digital nomads like to work in various public settings – coffee shops, hostels, and even public parks. Each of these settings connects you to an unfamiliar network, which can leave you vulnerable to data-stealing hackers. A VPN connects you with a server elsewhere in the world, encrypting your data in the process. As a bonus, VPNs allow you to visit sites, services and social media platforms that may be banned where you are. 

Perform Regular Backups

As a digital nomad, your data is your livelihood. Don’t lose a week’s worth of work (and, with it, a week’s worth of contracted pay) by neglecting this quick and straightforward task. Ideally, you want to back your files up in the cloud, so there’s no physical threat of theft. Just make sure you accompany your cloud backups with hardworking antivirus software. 

When using a cloud service, it’s critical to use a distinct, complex password. Not sure you’ll remember your 18-digit nonsensical password? Use a password manager to keep all your passwords secure and accessible. If you’re wary of password-protected data and prefer a physical line of defense, you can also pack an external hard drive and USB drives. 

Don’t Discount Physical Security

Finally, don’t disregard the value of physical security. After all the work you’ve done to back up your files and guard against malware, it’s still possible for a real-life thief to steal your device – the old school way. Get yourself a secure, anti-theft backpack or lockable suitcase. Keep an eye on your possessions at all times. Don’t advertise your flashy devices in public settings. And – this is more common than you’d think – if it starts to downpour, take cover and shield your device. 

If you’re considering a life of digital nomadism, there are two takeaways here. One, you should absolutely go for it. And two, you need to keep your data safe while you’re at it. Get excellent antivirus software, get a VPN, perform regular backups, keep items physically secure, and go enjoy the world.