Being a freelance creative can be challenging because you have all of the pressures of a business owner and the frustrations of generating new ideas and making them come to life. Something that can be easy to overlook is the need for cybersecurity as you venture online with your work.
Research Cyber and Security Services
Before subscribing to services offering cyber security, it is a good idea to research which provides the best range of products and services to fit your needs. Suppose you have a basic website with no online shop. In that case, you will need less robust security than an eCommerce site processing client financial information and saving that data to customer accounts. Finding the right mix of cyber services will usually mean working with a provider to design coverage that will keep you safe without breaking the bank. Remember that your coverage may change as your company ages, so finding a provider willing to scale and grow with you is essential.
Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a personal and encrypted connection to the internet. This means that you and your online activity are harder to track and, therefore, more secure. Most VPN providers can provide other services like faster data connections and more secure file transfers. For the freelancer on the move, your VPN can travel with you and better secure your connection even on public wi-fi.
Develop Strong Password and Authentication Habits
Whether you work alone or have employees, developing and encouraging robust password hygiene and good authentication habits is critical. Security system experts will tell you that your system is only as strong as the weakest part of it, which is usually the human element. Using multi-factor authentication and a secure password manager are two ways to beef up your approach to security.
Use the Best Anti-Virus Software
When shopping around for your anti-virus software, looking at criteria such as advanced malware protection, low RAM usage and email filtering is essential. It is vital to remember that the cost of your anti-virus subscription is likely to be much lower than the cost of losing data or equipment to malware.
Update Your Systems Regularly
Along with quality anti-virus software, you must update your systems regularly to avoid malicious actors using exploits to steal your data. For instance, the software developers you use to update your website may find an exploit in the programming and release a patch for that in an update. If you do not regularly check for and apply updates, your systems will be vulnerable to that exploit.
Use the 3-2-1 Backup Method
The 3-2-1 Backup Method tells you to keep three copies of a document in two locations with one external backup. For instance, you keep a copy of your resume on your desktop, send one to cloud storage, and put a printout in your file cabinet. Your computer and file cabinet are in the same location, so the copy on the cloud is your external backup.
Accept Secure Payments
Secure payment pathways are one of the best ways to keep your data and that of your clients safe from malicious actors while doing business online. Many digital workspaces and platforms will offer secure payment pathways as part of their services, and you can also use a third-party payment site with robust security. For the most part, platforms designed to facilitate online business, especially those hosting file sharing and secure communications, will offer safe payment pathways as core platform features.
Freelancing your creativity is an excellent way to make a living while doing what you love, but tackling the details of running your own business alone can be intimidating. Cyber security is one of those details which should be prioritized because it can keep your business, personal data and clients safer while doing business online. To boost your security, invest in a quality VPN and anti-virus software, increase your password hygiene and use multi-factor authentication.