Remote writers work online and offline, using our own computers. This means everything on your computers, including the client's data, is at risk from cyber-attacks. A data breach quite often occurs due to not keeping our computer security up to date.
An easy task, right? Simply keep that laptop updated.
Well, not necessarily.
Most of us run a small business—just you and a few other freelancers together. Alternatively, you're a solo act.
Companies have the benefit of huge budgets that allow them to invest in the best cybersecurity possible. However, as a remote writer, you probably don't have the money to invest in cybersecurity and this could leave you exposed to a cyber-attack.
Fortunately, even without a large budget, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your client's data. We can all use a few solid, simple, easy to do, and practical tips to protect ourselves against cyber-attacks.
4 Simple Ways Freelance Writers Can Keep Client Data Safe
Update Your Software—Don't Skip Those Alerts
Many people overlook updating software due to either forgetting or not realizing the importance of keeping software up to date.
It's very important and can also boost the workability of your writing/grammar/design apps!
Every software update will include fixes for weaknesses that have been identified. This is vital in the fight against cyber-attacks as potential hackers will be looking to exploit the known weaknesses of previous software versions.
It's vital to keep every piece of software up to date, including the operating system. Keeping your systems and software up to date can greatly minimize your exposure to cyber-attacks.
Easy Won't Cut It—Use Stronger Passwords
One of the easiest ways for hackers to steal data is by guessing your password. If you use easy passwords, such as 1234, then you are at risk of a hacker breaking your security.
Make sure to set strong passwords for every site that you use. Here are some easy ways to pick a strong password:
Don't use obvious passwords such as 0000 or other repetitive keystrokes;
It is recommended to use more than one word;
Aim to make a password at least 12 characters long;
Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols;
Avoid using personal information, such as a pet's name or your date of birth;
Change your passwords regularly;
Use a different password for every site.
The goal is to make it harder for client's data to be stolen.
A great way to keep data safe is to use encryption. Encryption can be especially beneficial when you need to send data via e-mail or some other electronic means.
Thanks to advancements in technology, encryption can be easily affordable or even free in some cases. To start with, try AxCrypt, VeraCrypt, and NordLocker for free encryption software.
Ask The Client—Especially for Larger Projects
It's highly likely the client you are working for has cybersecurity measures in place to protect their business. If you are concerned your security isn't adequate, then you could ask the client for help.
If the client has the means, then in most cases they should be willing to help rather than risk a data breach. This can mean access to a high standard of security including encryption, backups, and firewalls.
Final Thoughts and Recaps
Let's fact it. As a freelance writer, many of us lack the budget to protect ourselves against every cyber-attack, but doing nothing would likely result in your client's data been exposed.
If you follow these 4 simple steps, then you can minimize your risk of a data breach:
Update your software
Use strong passwords
Ask the client for assistance with cybersecurity
Staying safe online will benefit you and your client, leading to a more trustworthy working relationship—and more work for you!
Sean is a full-time IT worker bee with a growing freelance hustle and excels as a Contributing SME Author with Remote Writers Work.