Despite the connected nature of the world we live in today, many people still face various issues related to their physical location. This is accurate even when they use advanced technology like smartphones and the internet. Those who travel for work must be familiar with the situation and encountering geo-blocking for the first time can be a pretty annoying experience.
Thankfully, there are some ways to circumvent these restrictions. While some of them can cost you (or your company) a bit extra, it may still be a worthwhile expense when you consider the vast benefits this will have on your work and browsing habits.
How Geo-Blocking Could Affect Your Work
If you still haven’t had the “pleasure” of dealing with a geo-blocking system abroad, consider yourself lucky. Many countries have restrictions on the type of content that can be accessed over their internet connections. This can sometimes result in work-related IP addresses getting banned for no legitimate reason.
You may also be forced to go through various additional security measures. For example, a large firewall, which can slow down your connection and make things very difficult when you need to send a large file or join a video conference. Your company might not be able to help you either, depending on their standing with the local government. And in some cases, the problem may not even be with the government itself, but rather with a local service like the ISP you’re using.
Connect from Secure Locations
One way to circumvent those restrictions is to only connect through secure locations for work purposes. These will typically be remote offices set up by your employer, which feature additional security measures or built-in VPN connections (more on that below) that will allow you to work remotely without any issues.
In some cases, your employer might also have a contract with another company to use their facilities for this purpose, so you would not be doing your work in your own company’s offices. Keep in mind that this might come with some strings attached. For instance, additional security restrictions (from both sides – your employer and their partner), telling you how you’re allowed to use the network and other resources.
Use a VPN
A very popular solution these days is to connect over a VPN. This can allow you to circumvent pretty much all content restrictions imposed by your current ISP. It can also improve your general browsing speed. You will be able to securely send and receive all types of data without worrying that someone might be spying on your connection, as everything will be encrypted.
This is different from the encryption built into your Wi-Fi connection or when browsing a website using HTTPS. A VPN will make its entire traffic indecipherable to an outside observer, so curious eyes won’t even be able to tell what sites you’re visiting. The only variable visible from the outside is the overall volume of traffic you produce. However, this can easily be obscured as well (and becomes rather meaningless if you do a lot of video streaming in your free time).
Is Entertainment Allowed?
Speaking of video streaming, this is another reason many people look into a VPN subscription for their work and private needs. Netflix and other similar services might block some of their content based on your current location, which can be very annoying if your employer sends you to another country for a couple of weeks, just as the new season of your favorite show comes out.
If you’re allowed to use your work laptop for personal needs in your free time, this is another reason to look at a VPN service if you want to minimize the overall hassle you’ll have to deal with. This will help you with other services, too. Gaming platforms like Steam might also change some of their functionality and product availability depending on where you’re connecting from. You may even be prevented from making a purchase altogether if you’re currently not in your home country.
The effects of geo-blocking can range from mild annoyance to severe security risks. It’s important to understand the implications of using the internet from any location you might be sent to. Using a VPN is an excellent way to ensure that you won’t have to deal with many problems in this regard. And even though it still won’t cover all your bases, it’s a good step up from connecting directly through unsecured networks.