Today, about one-third of all working Americans are freelancers, and this number keeps growing. The pandemic and increasing unemployment rates encouraged many people to move from full-time jobs to the gig economy. But the lack of available jobs is far from the only reason why people choose to be freelancers. Being your own boss has many perks: you get to choose your own working hours, take as much vacation as you want, and you can work from any part of the world.
However, freelancing also has several drawbacks. Many beginner freelancers struggle to find clients, feel lonely not working in a team, or lack employee benefits that they’d get working at a corporation. Another big drawback of freelancing is the lack of security, specifically cybersecurity. Freelancers generally don’t know much about keeping their clients’ and their own data safe from outsiders, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Here are some basic security tips that every freelancer must know:
1. Get a password manager
As a freelancer, you need to deal with lots of login information. Do you use the same or similar passwords for your accounts? If yes, now is the time to change that. Weak and repetitive passwords pose a substantial cybersecurity risk and can lead to all of your accounts getting hacked. By using a password manager, you can create and store strong and different passwords for all of your accounts.
2. Be careful with wifi
Many people choose to be freelancers because they can travel wherever they want, whenever they want, and work from any part of the world. However, people who work remotely often don’t consider wifi safety. If you connect to all public networks you find at cafes or airports, you’re making all of your work data vulnerable because these networks aren’t always encrypted. Always be careful when choosing a network to connect to and make sure it’s reliable.
3. Use 2FA
Your passwords might get compromised even if you use a password manager and connect to secure networks. If this happens, 2FA (2-factor authentication) will come in to save the day. By enabling 2FA on your work accounts, you’ll ensure that they’re inaccessible even to the hackers who know your passwords.
4. Beware of phishing scams
Phishing is one of the top cyber threats for freelancers. It refers to any online scam where hackers try to trick people into revealing their important information. Always be skeptical before entering your sensitive information anywhere. The point in phishing is to seem as believable as possible, so even the smartest people can fall for it if they’re not careful enough (especially if the hacker is posing as a specific coworker or family member).
5. Keep software updated
Software updates are a critical aspect of cybersecurity. The security patches included in software updates remove security vulnerabilities from your device. This protects you from cyber attacks that have already happened to other people in the past. So despite how tempting the “remind me later” button is when you get a software update alert, it’s best to get it over with right away.