A Cybersecurity Guide for Freelancers – Recent industry figures reveal the number of freelance workers in the UK is on the rise. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed says there were 1.9 million freelancers in 2022. That’s up 1% from the previous year.
And there are many advantages to working this way. First, there’s the freedom to be your own boss and manage your hours. There’s also the satisfaction of knowing you do something you love. And if you’re firmly established, you can afford to take only the jobs that pique your enthusiasm.
But no type of work is perfect. Freelancing brings plenty of challenges, too. Chief among those is the issue of cybersecurity. So, what are the risks? And how can you protect yourself and your clients? Read on to find out more.
The Risks for Freelancers
Some freelancers handle sensitive client records. For instance, they may deal with financial information or intellectual property. Some may lack the security infrastructure that larger organisations have. This makes them more susceptible to hackers and cybercriminals, especially with the rise of data security incidents. A release from the Information Commissioner’s Office reveals there were 2,893 incidents reported in Q2 of 2023. That’s a 41% increase on the same period in 2022.
Safeguarding Measures You Can Use
There are several steps you can take to increase your digital safety, like enabling two-factor authentication. It’s best practice to regularly update your software as this can patch up security gaps. And you should only use secure Wi-Fi networks rather than public ones that are less protected.
It can be a good idea to encrypt your storage devices. It’s also important to know how to find your IP address. You can then use a tool like a VPN to hide your location and protect your identity.
You’re bound to work on multiple projects when freelancing. You’re also likely to have extensive communication with your clients. Back up these files and other essentials on external and online storage systems. Cloud-based solutions add an extra layer of security and enable you to access your files from different devices.
The Benefits for Clients
By putting these security measures in place, you’ll be displaying your professionalism and reliability. Your clients will likely value these traits. They want to trust that you’ll handle their data carefully. You’ll develop a positive reputation and be more likely to pick up further business if you can display that.