When you start working at home, whether as an independent contractor or freelancer, one of the major issues that clients have, and you should be concerned about too, is security. The security of data and information you work with, company information and privacy of the information is one of the major concerns companies have when it comes to hiring freelancers or outsourcing work.
Depending on the kind of jobs you do or the contracts you sign with your clients, there are measures you need to put in place to protect your clients’ information and to protect your integrity as well as yourself from lawsuits that may arise from leaked or compromised information. For some professionals such as lawyers and accountants, there are very strict guidelines on how client information is handled. The same should apply for all professions.
Physical access to data
The term work at home does not necessarily mean that you have to work from inside the house, the flexibility of this job type allows you to choose where to work from including from coffee shops, cyber cafes, on the road or at a public park. This flexibility of work however comes with a risk – the risk of someone gaining physical access to your computer and compromise what you are working on.
What you need to do is cultivate some paranoia and assume that there is always someone looking to get into your computer. This is a healthy way to keep you alert at all times and to eliminate carelessness that may even make you lose the computer. When you have friends over, or when there are kids in the house, place the computer away or lock your home office. When at a public place, always keep the computer with you or in sight if you have to stretch out a little.
In this age of wireless connectivity, you can never be too careful when protecting your computer from unauthorized access via wireless networks. The wireless networks in this case mean the internet and local Wi-Fi. Most work at home entrepreneurs choose to work at parks and coffee shops because of free and fast Wi-Fi connectivity. However, connecting to these wireless networks or even enabling Bluetooth on your laptop increases the chances of remote compromise by hackers. The consequences may not be so pleasant. The best thing to do is to always keep copies of your information safely stored away, probably online. There are many tools you can use today such as Dropbox to automatically sync your files when you make changes. If your computer is wiped clean remotely, you will not need to start from scratch.
Prevention is always better than waiting to cure. Install an antivirus software with a firewall on your computer to add a layer of security from unauthorized remote access. You should also be very careful when setting up the network and ensure that any public network is set as public and not home or private.
If you are not so sure about the various tools and terms of computer security, you need to read a little bit more to stay safer and to protect your clients and company data from saboteurs and malicious criminals. You cannot afford to be careless when it comes to safeguarding computer data and client information.