The rapid development of technology in the last decade has made working abroad a realistic option for thousands of people. Increasing numbers are not only choosing to work remotely from their home, but to go a step further by leaving the country all together – enjoying the benefits that increased flexibility around when and where they work can bring.
However, as more and more of our lives require an online connection, the dangers of losing sensitive information are not limited to having a physical device stolen. Online data security is an essential to protect everything from bank details to browsing history. There are also hardware considerations to working abroad, like whether you'll be able to keep devices powered up when your commutes are international flights rather than train rides.
By following these tips, business travellers of all kinds will be able to not only better protect their tech, but save money and make their new life that little bit easier.
1. Use a VPN to secure your Wi-Fi
When you are trying to conserve your data allowance, or visiting somewhere with poor signal, free Wi-Fi can seem like a real blessing. It may allow you to search for directions or keep up with work from the beach, but public networks should always be used with caution.
In many cases, public Wi-Fi services have little or no encryption, meaning that that data you send and receive is unsecured. This may not matter if you are simply reading the news, but as soon as you begin entering personal details like usernames and passwords, this information is at risk of being intercepted by hackers. This is especially true in places like stations and cafes, where hackers know large numbers of devices will be connecting.
Thankfully, there is a very simple solution. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, will encrypt your data and mask your device's location, allowing you to browse safely. Operated by a simple app, your VPN can be installed on a number of devices, protecting your phone, laptop and tablet wherever you are in the world.
2. Keep your hardware safe with tools like Find My Phone
When you are on the move it is very easy to misplace things. Keys and phones often go missing, and that moment of terror when you realise your pocket is empty is something everyone has experienced. When your device is full of work information as well as personal stuff, the fear is that little bit greater.
iOS devices all come with a useful feature to combat this. 'Find My Phone' is a great app because it not only helps you to locate a missing device, but also to protect the data on it. Once it is activated, simply login to your Apple account on another device and you will see a GPS map marking where your missing device is. It can even make your phone chime to help you locate it. Google also provide a similar 'Find My Device' service for Android users.
If your device is lost or stolen rather than misplaced, you can take the more drastic step of remotely locking and wiping it. This makes sure that your data is protected even when the device it's stored on is gone.
3. Research your roaming policy
If you're just taking a weekend break in Europe, it's easy enough to stomach increased roaming charges as a one-off. But for those who are regularly abroad to work, it is important to make sure that you know the key details of your provider's policy. Get in touch and discuss your current plan to ensure it does what you need.
Many mobile apps work in the background installing updates or monitoring your activity. This is not an issue when connected to secure Wi-Fi, but could leave you with a large bill if you are not prepared for it. So make sure that auto-update and other permissions that allow background activity are paused until you are settled.
4. Apps are your friend
It seems that there's an app for everything, and yet new innovations continue to appear, giving you tools you never knew that you needed, but you can no longer live without. This is especially true for people moving their life abroad.
Learning the language
One of the biggest challenges of moving abroad is getting to grips with the language. Duolingo focuses on short, regular lessons to help you learn grammar and improve your ability to speak your new language. For reading documents, Google Translate is still your best friend.
From exploring your new home country to visiting friends and family back home, working abroad can mean a lot of travelling. Skyscanner is a popular favorite for ensuring that you get the best value flights based on destination and airline.
For anyone who has moved to a new house, let alone moved country, paperwork is an incredible chore. Using a digital signature app like DocuSign, you can approve those documents without the frustration of dealing with hard copies – essential if you are on the move and don't have regular access to a printer.
To ensure that you get the most out of your tech when working abroad, it's important not to overlook the simple accessories that you use every day.
From extra-long charging cables to a portable power pack, the types of accessories that you take for granted at home show their worth the most when you have to live without them – so don't forget the little things when packing your bags.
One of the most obvious is also the one that you are most likely to leave behind. You may have packed all of your devices and spare batteries, but they won't be of much use without an international power adapter.
Working abroad can bring a wide range of benefits to your wellbeing, happiness and work-life balance, but those moving to a new country should take the time to make sure they are fully prepared. It is often the simplest things that will make your life easier. With the help of apps, accessories and security tools, you can focus on getting the most out of your new way of life.