With the freelance world primarily taking place online, freelancers need to take measures to keep their business (and their clients) safe. Unfortunately, many freelancers take a lax approach to digital security. So it's not much of a surprise that they're popular targets for cybercriminals.
While freelancers don't typically have to worry about the security of employee data, there is a risk to client data, as well as their own. Obviously, exposing client data is a big no-no. It can negatively impact your client and your business. It also impacts your reputation. If you can't keep a client's sensitive information safe, it can ruin your credibility.
Taking precautions will protect your business and clients from irreparable damage. Keep reading for five cyber security tips for freelancers to implement immediately.
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Set Up a Secure Connection
One of the best parts of freelancing is the ability to work from anywhere. However, this can put you in a risky situation, as not every network is secure. If you like to work from coffee shops, or travel frequently, it's essential to ensure your connection is secure. Unsecured networks are easy targets for cybercriminals.
Routing your connection through a VPN is an easy way to keep your data private. Many services are pretty affordable as well, which is great for freelancers on a budget. Another option is to use a mobile modem rather than logging onto public wifi.
Back-Up Data a Frequently
Backing up data is also important. If a hacker gains access to your computer, they may try to hold your data under ransom. Regularly backing up your data prevents you from having to pay to get it back. It could also protect you from things likes accidental deletion, theft, or damage. If something unexpected happens, you still have copies of all your important files.
One of the best places to keep your files is the cloud but, for many, the cloud can be a confusing place. An IT consultancy service such as Capstone IT can help you get set up with the cloud. There are many cloud providers to choose from and having an expert on hand can be beneficial.
Use Strong Passwords
Don't be one of those people who use weak passwords!
Using strong passwords is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your risk of getting hacked.
The strongest passwords are random strings of upper and lower case letters mixed with numbers, which are impossible to crack. Of course, it’s important that your strong password is also memorable. For help creating passwords that are strong and memorable, check out this guide from PC Mag.
Invest in Anti-Virus Sofware
Most reputable anti-virus software programs have in-built scanning features for emails, websites, and downloads. Every email is scanned before you open it to assess the risk of it containing a virus. Though they can be spendy, anti-virus and scanning tools are worth the investment.
Keep Software Updated
Software that hasn’t been updated could pose a security risk, as it may not be secure against the latest threats. These days, software tends to automatically update but you may have to restart your computer for the effects to take place. To ensure your computer is running on the latest version, reboot it regularly, which is also good for its performance.
Making an effort to protect your own and your client's data doesn't have to be stressful. Yes, crazy things can happen, and even the most precautious of freelancers may experience a cyber security attack. However, by implementing the five cyber security tips for freelancers above, you have a better chance of protecting your business and its corresponding data.
Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.