Working from home is a dream lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that it is without its downsides and risks. One thing you have to worry about more than most office workers is security, because you’re in charge of all the data that enters your home from your clients. Use these seven security tips to stay safe.
1. Secure your passwords
A great idea right away is to make sure that you have secure passwords. Always have different passwords for personal accounts than you do for your business accounts, right off the bat. As for which passwords you use, they should be strong with a range of letters, numbers, uppercase and lowercase, and punctuation. You should also consider using different passwords for your different accounts so that a hack in one does not compromise all the others.
2. Keep it private
Never write down your passwords anywhere – especially not in a file on your computer itself! If a hacker was able to get access to remotely control your desktop, they would be able to read this password file and use it to access all of your accounts. If you must write down something to help you remember, then write it in code – for example, if your (bad example of a) password was 1234PASSWORD, then you could use the code “number p up” to remind you that you have a string of numbers followed by password in uppercase.
3. Use a VPN
When connecting to the internet, it’s important that you use a VPN to protect your connection. This basically means that no one can trace the connection back into your system and get hold of all of your details, so it’s a good way to protect yourself and your clients.
4. Delete old data
Do you really need the data of a client you haven’t worked with in years? Most privacy laws usually state that you have to destroy data after a certain amount of time, so consider being proactive on this and shredding old documents. You can also delete digital data – but make sure it’s really gone by emptying your recycle bin, too.
5. Don’t save everything
Similarly, think carefully about what kind of information you even need to take from your clients. If you always work via email, then you don’t need to collect phone numbers. If you send invoices through yourself, then you don’t need to collect payment data as the client can simply pay when they receive the invoice. If you don’t need it, don’t ask your clients for it.
6. Advise your clients
Make sure that your clients also know about these important security tips, especially if you are going to be accessing the same Cloud files or allowing them access to part of your system. Their poor safety could lead to your system being compromised as well in this case.
7. Be careful outside
When you leave your home, it’s easy to check in on a few emails or files from your phone or laptop. However, make sure you use caution. Stick to using a VPN, don’t save passwords in your devices in case they get stolen, and protect everything with fingerprint recognition if you can. Should your device be stolen, you should immediately report it as such and change all of your passwords.
These small steps can build up to creating a much more secure environment for your freelance work. This is important for both yourself and your clients, as personal data can often get mixed up with business data when you are working from home.
Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking and reading history.