Lloyd Burrell has written another guest post for PWF, including reviews on a variety of home office desk styles.
If you’re on the road, like I am a lot, you need the essentials so you can work anywhere that’s available – like an airport, on a plane, a few minutes while eating lunch, etc. Determine what pieces of equipment you need, applications, tools, and software, and do a dry run before you leave on that trip. Internet cafes are a boon when you’re overseas, and hotels usually have free or cheap high-speed Internet accessibility. It’s always wise to make sure that your anti-spyware, firewall, anti-virus and other computer safeguard software is right up to date.
When using public Wi-Fi networks, at the airport, bus station or even in your hotel, never send or use personal info about credit cards or important passwords. It’s also a great idea to set-up a free email account off your normal ones and keep it just for traveling. Any “infections” or hacks into it can be kept to a minimum, and you can always cancel the account when you get home.
1) Skype: This is a very popular over-the-internet phone software program, with video if you have a camera. It is a digital nomad essential and the apps are available for iPad and iPhone. Channels are secure when you call and it’s low cost. Skype offers hardware phones as well as a light version of the software for free. You can try this out on your home computer before you travel, and set up your account etc.
2) Meebo: This is a wonderful instant messaging service which is web-based. Integrate all of your IM messaging, such as Facebook, Chat, AIM, Google Chat, etc. Your chats will be encrypted. The software doesn’t need downloading as it’s run from your web browser.
3) LogMeIn: When you can connect to other computers you have at work or home, this free and remote desktop service is a real plus of a little program which runs right through a web browser. It’s easier to use and set up than a regular VPN and your other computers will appear to be right on the desk in front of you.
4) Portable Firefox: This is a mini version of the popular web browser and it takes up around 50MB on a USB drive. Updates will be offered so you don’t need to check on them. You can get secure Internet access without using the browser on a guest computer, therefore saving you from possible viral contamination.
5) Portable Thunderbird: Mozilla created this email client and it can do most of the things that the desktop Microsoft Outlook can. Thunderbird will check multiple email accounts as well as handling your digital signatures and it can also encrypt those important emails for you.
6) SafeKeys: It makes a graphical keyboard that you click with your mouse and this protects you from keyloggers. The latter are programs which record your keystrokes and can send the date about passwords and other important info to others.
7) TrueCrypt: If you are a real digital nomad, you need to protect your computers from anyone getting into them at all. TrueCrypt encrypts your entire hard drive. All you do is enter one more password when you boot up. TrueCrypt can also lock removable drives like USBs, as well as hiding files so they don’t just jump out and be obvious to a thief.
8) Password Safe: This is a terrific tool which stores and encrypts all of your passwords, and in one single file on your computer. Using this, you’ll never lose an important password just when you need it. Finding your passwords is also easy as you can organize them by name and account type.
If you travel a lot, or even a little, always protect your communications, data and privacy while you’re on the go. I do, and have learned what peace of mind it can give you. Practice on the right software before you go and everything will seem like second nature while you’re away. Software security programs which use some strong encryption algorithms and which are portable, will make your surfing safe and secure. No more wipeouts! It is best, unless you are desperate for some reason, to avoid those public Internet areas, and use your own computers to work on the Internet.
Along with all of the security tips I have offered, it’s always wise to make sure you have a good anti-virus program on your computer when you travel. Avast! is free (what’s better than that?) and it does a great job of preventing or cleaning off viruses and malware from your computer. Take a clean computer with you and if you’ve taken a few precautions, you’ll bring a clean one back home. Have a safe trip.