Top 7 Cybersecurity Tips for Freelance Developers
We go over seven simple steps freelance software developers can use to make sure they keep their data, and their client's data, safe from cyber attacks.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
With the flexibility to choose your own hours, price, workload, and workspace, the booming gig-economy is quickly attracting more and more young professionals. In June of 2020, the global freelance revenue jumped by 28% compared to January of the same year. Plus, the number of freelancers is projected to grow even more due to the current climate.
However, while the staggering growth of the freelance workforce instills financial confidence, online security continues to be a cause for concern. Freelancers must be responsible for safe and secure handling of client data and information. In fact, 1 in 5 freelancers become victims of cyber attacks.
Regardless of the remote working approach, security hygiene is imperative, especially in the post-pandemic world. With a majority of companies planning to adopt freelancers on a larger scale in the near future, adhering to the latest cybersecurity norms is crucial.
The good news? Since 79% of freelancers choose their homes as their main workplace, it's easy to apply cybersecurity tips and make remote work safe.
So, let’s dive into the seven tips that can help you work more securely from anywhere.
1. Invest in High-Quality Remote Work Gear and Software
One of the first steps towards freelance cybersecurity is to get high-quality hardware and software.
From smart speakers and secured webcams with physical shutters to Bluetooth headphones and laptops, there are various tech gear essentials that most freelancers should add to their list.
For instance, if you’re buying a new smartphone for professional use, do not forget to set up a VPN on your phone, especially one with top-notch encryption protocols. For freelancers in delicate positions, secure DBMS applications are even more important, considering the proliferation of attackers trying to gain access to intellectual property or other sensitive information.
2. Choose a Secure Remote Work Location
Many of you may find it more productive to work from the same station each day. Therefore, securing your work location with a reliable internet connection, proxies, and firewalls is a resourceful approach.
Although 25% of remote workers agree that working in the same location is the most effective way to stay productive, most freelancers claim that workplace flexibility is their top benefit. This means you may work from anywhere and therefore it's important to find a secure remote work location.
Not only should you choose a reliable coffee shop with a good WI-FI connection, but you should also install a VPN extension in advance to secure this internet connection.
3. Use a VPN Connection
As mentioned earlier, you must set up a VPN on your phone or laptop. A reliable virtual private network ensures secure connections for your workstation with worldwide servers. VPNs are way more secure than remote desktop solutions, owing to the latest encryption standards.
4. Find a Trustworthy Backup Solution
As a freelance developer, it's likely you have different files and databases you need to protect from data breaches. Make sure to pay attention to data confidentiality and cybersecurity to ensure credibility and validate the security standards before proceeding.
With a variety of malware, viruses, and phishing related threats, it's not safe to store everything on your computer or phone. The solution is simple: use backup solutions to create exact copies of files or databases and back up your machine.
5. Enable 2-Factor Authentication on Your Devices
Today, when freelancers use their phones and laptops for work, devices contain a lot private information. One of your responsibilities is to secure the log-in processes in case your smartphone is hacked and someone gets access to your device.
How? Learn more about 2FA (2-factor authentication) in the picture below:
Working around this threat is possible with multi-factor authentication, which involves User IDs, token IDs, and device-centric biometric identification. It's a proven way to protect your data.
6. Focus on the Right Kind of Work
Masking IPs, encrypting data, and using multi-factor authentication are some of the more technical aspects of data confidentiality adherence for freelancers. However, a more simplistic approach is to restrict leisure indulgences on your work devices. Dedicating a device specifically to the client requirements will help keep the threats at bay.
Once you have a specific device for professional work, you can jump onto a secure network or follow other protocols to further strengthen the defenses. You also should remember that not all kinds of work should be done in cafés or co-working places. For example, working on invoices in a public place isn't a good idea.
7. Keep Communication Private
Most freelancers would agree that the more clients you have, the better. However, this also means you need to spend time communicating with your clients as well as improving client communication. And if you need to delegate coding tasks and get programming help, always collaborate with trustworthy partners who will keep your data private.
In other words, you need to keep client data secure to get more business leads, so prioritize specific communication channels for specific tasks. For instance, if you have something confidential to share, consider using emails rather than talking about it out over Zoom calls, especially if you work in a public place.
Not sure what channel to choose? Check out this handy infographic:
As a potent organizational solution to minimize overhead and improve performance, freelancing is now getting the popularity it deserves. However, this professional approach still gets a bad rap due to the prevalent cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.
Therefore, it's necessary for freelancers and remote workers to follow the above mentioned strategies in order to instill confidence in their clients regarding data safety, privacy, and confidentiality.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.