With freelancing becoming an increasingly common phenomenon in today’s job market, it’s no surprise that a growing number of businesses are choosing to outsource work to freelancers. However, there are downsides to this. Fast Company reports freelance workers could pose a cybersecurity riskto these businesses. This is due to the fact that freelancers are more likely to work remotely and use their own devices to work on, rendering them especially vulnerable to malware, hacks, etc.
The growing number of industries that employ freelance workers, like IT, accounting and finance and healthcare, among many others, only adds to the issue. With IT and tech among the top industries for freelancers, Yoss notes how companies are now looking to hire tech freelancers to augment their permanent employees. This is especially true for niche and highly specialized tech areas, where only a freelancer or contractor would be able to help. Given the sensitive nature of some of these industries, it begs the question: what can freelancers do to secure their data?
Fortunately, there are a few ways this can be done effectively.
Update your software
One of the tips from Stay Safe Online on cybersecurity for freelancers, advises that keeping software up-to-date is one of the best things freelancers can do. Though it can certainly be easy to hit the ‘postpone’ button on pop-ups urging you to run a security update, these actually help fight against new and evolving threats. Updates are the app/software’s way of making sure you have the latest in defense technology.
Use a VPN
VPNs provide a higher level of security on wireless networks, which can be especially useful if you’re a freelancer in possession of highly sensitive client information. Additionally, the VPN’s ability to hide your IP address is useful against would-be thieves looking to gain access into your computer. Of course, as we have detailed on Best VPN Analysis previously, there are a number of things to consider when choosing the right VPN. These factors range from things like peer-to-peer functionality and capabilities to bypass geo-blocks – all things that hinge upon the nature of your business. No matter what your business though, a VPN is still a good way to provide an additional layer of security.
Secure your passwords and always log out
While saving your passwords within a browser or other software is convenient for faster logins, it also makes it easier for an unauthorized person to access your accounts and programs. A more secure and still relatively quick way is to use password managers, which safely store autofill login information with two-step authentication and verification process. Google’s two-step authentication is an example, where a prompt is sent to your mobile phone to enable log-in. Lastly, to ensure that there’s no unauthorized access, whether for an online account or mobile app, always log out when you’re done.
Considering the changing work landscape, it stands to reason that security practices must also evolve alongside them. Given that NPR details how the freelance workforce has risen in America, with 1 in 5 American jobs held by a worker under contract, it becomes apparent that freelancing is at the forefront of this change. If businesses want to ensure that they and their client’s information remain secure, adapting security practices to freelancers is an absolute must.