7 ways to keep your independent business digital security
If you are running a freelance business, chances are you do a lot of work online. Whether you’re a graphic designer, web developer, or coach, you are likely communicating with clients, managing your finances, and managing your gigs in the virtual sphere. This is why it is crucial to ensure the digital security of your data – and that of your customers.
A violation can irreparably damage your independent business. On the one hand, you’ll find it difficult to regain control of your own information, from online banking access to your social security number. You’ll also need to tell your customers that the data they trusted you with – from website access to payment details – has been compromised.
To help keep your independent business digital security, here are seven easy-to-implement tips.
1 – Strengthen the security of your network
To get started, you need to increase the security of the networks you use for your business. Statistics show that 90% of hack targets are actually routers and IoT devices.
Leaving the default settings on your home Wi-Fi network makes life easier for cybercriminals. Fortunately, there are few simple steps to remedy the situation:
- Create a complex router password and change it regularly.
- Change the router administrator credentials.
- Change the name of the default network.
- Enable network encryption and firewalls.
- Disable Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and remote access.
When you’re away from home, pay attention to the networks you connect to. Do not use Public WiFi for sensitive companies. A virtual private network (VPN) can help you stay safe wherever you are.
2 – Be wary and stay informed about scams that compromise digital security
Knowing them is an essential part of protecting yourself from cyber attacks.
Majority of cyber attacks take the form of phishing and other social engineering scams, transmitted by e-mail or on social networks.
Fake invoices are the most popular disguise for distributing malware via email, with 15.9% of scams in this form. This is closely followed by email delivery failure notifications (15.3%) and legal and law enforcement messages (13.2%).
To stay safe from these attacks, you need to stay wary and stay on top of popular scams in your industry. Make sure to turn on your spam filter and never open attachments or download documents without running a virus scan.
3 – Update your operating system and software
Most hackers exploit known vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications, rather than looking for new ones.
In most cases, these vulnerabilities have already been corrected by the developers. To benefit from it, however, you must install updates and fixes.
For optimal security, install updates as soon as possible. You can also create a schedule to update your business devices and software all at once.
4 – Maintain high password and hygiene standards
As a freelance writer, you probably have a million accounts to follow, both your own and those of your clients. Therefore, it is too tempting to choose simple passwords.
However, in terms of cybersecurity, high standards of password and hygiene are crucial. That means choose unique and complex passwords for each account – and by regularly changing sensitive accounts.
Using a password manager makes this much easier. It securely stores your existing passwords and will suggest new and secure ones when you open an account. Moreover, some solutions will also alert you if your passwords are too weak or have been compromised.
5 – Encrypt all possible data for maximum digital security
Following, enable data encryption wherever you can.
This includes your local devices – your laptop, phone, tablet, external hard drives – as well as cloud storage solutions.
On Windows, you can enable native Microsoft BitLocker. Macs have Apple’s FireVault. Or you can opt for third party encryption programs.
Additionally, many security software and antivirus vendors include encryption or offer it as a stand-alone service.
6 – Invest in quality digital security solutions
Given the disastrous damage a breach can cause to your independent business, you should consider investing in quality security solutions.
When it comes to antiviruses, encryption apps, VPNs, and password managers, cheap options can cost you money in the long run.
Ultimately, you should go for a solution that offers full security. Renowned cybersecurity providers such as Kaspersky, Avast, Norton, and Bitdefender may not be easy on your IT budget, but offer unparalleled protection.
Another option to consider is complete digital security solutions, such as Will have. These combine technological aspects like antivirus, WiFi security, and VPNs, with personal and financial protection like identity theft insurance, credit monitoring, and criminal fraud monitoring.
7 – Have a strategic backup plan
Finally, part of your digital security strategy should also be to plan for the worst case scenario.
Your data is compromised. Now what?
You fall back on data backups to minimize damage.
Regular physical or cloud backups allow files to be recovered after a local outage.
This will be invaluable not only if you are the target of a cyber attack, but also if any of your devices are damaged or stolen.
Suffering from a data breach can be fatal for any independent business. This can not only lead to the loss of your personal information, but also destroy customers’ trust in you permanently.
To protect yourself, it is essential to invest time and effort in developing a digital security strategy for your business and investing in quality solutions.