It does not matter whether your business is physical or online – it will still face threats. If youre working behind a desk or at home, your business can still be in danger. The idea of your company, its interests or its money could be under siege. If youre running a business, its on you to protect it.
How do you protect your business? It all depends on the type of business you run. A business run from home doesnt need the same regime as a retail business that has cash in the register – however there is some crossover.
What happens when you dont protect a business? Well you tempt fate. Business is a world of results, of things that you can actually measure. Fate and leaps of faith have no place in business anyway, let alone in matters of security.
Well focus more on the remote working businesses, but its worth keeping in mind the perils of forgetting to protect any kind of business. The best example does come from the physical world though. If there is a store on the high street that makes a lot of money, and this money goes into the cash register – thats a sign of success. However, if the business owner goes home without locking the door to the business, its only a matter of some nefarious person twisting the handle to the door and walking into the unguarded business that would see the business lose all of its takings. Even then, office businesses can still face threats of theft. Say a call centre is having a busy day – everyone in the office is stressed out and things arent going to plan. There is not a single person in that office who can wait to get out and go home. In the haste to leave, the door might be unlocked and when people come back the next morning refreshed and ideally in a mood to have a better day – they will find that the computers are gone. Its not just cash that criminals look for, it is also assets. How would a physical business go about protecting itself? In the first instance, locking the premises would be the best idea, but also hiring security or installing alarms. Any form of deterrence will stop a criminal from trying and the number one thing above all that you do NOT want a criminal to do is try. If a physical business reduces the risk of capture to a criminal, it will be a more inviting prospect to a criminal. If someone running a store wants to protect their business, they take the money away with security, they lock the doors and windows and turn on the alarm. They do not leave it up to chance. In fact, good businesses leave nothing at all up to chance – everything can be insured and companies like Meadow Brook Direct offer the means for this to happen so interests can be protected. The lesson to learn? Its about being proactive to protect rather than reactive.
This blog has a lot of content about remote working, but the above example is worth paying attention to – simply because the basic theory applies. If you dont protect your business – no matter if you are freelancing or working remotely in some other way, you are still making a big mistake.
But, you might say, what do I have to lose as a freelancer? A lot, actually. We’ll discuss cyber-crime in a moment – but anyone with a computer can be a victim. If you are a freelancer, you’ll be completing work on a computer. What happens when you are working, and your computer is assaulted by viral ransomware that has not only completely locked down your computer, but will erase the data. This will ensure that your work is lost and could also ensure that you lose a client because you couldn’t deliver on time. Business is what you have to lose as a freelancer.That computer, it will be your livelihood – much like the takings of a physical business in the cash register – and if you don’t protect it, you’ll have a lot to lose. This could be an absolute nightmare if you’re a worker without borders, who travels on the success of their freelance efforts. If you’re stuck in a country where you barely know the language, how can you get by and find someone to help you with your computer issues if they are that bad?
Cyber-crime is a big deal and if people aren’t stealing your financial information, or client information – they are disrupting your business, and any one of these three issues can mean the end of days as a freelancer. It will kill your workflow, destroy your finances and lose your trust. Would you take a chance on anyone of those issues? To secure your computer, download anti-virus software and anti-malware software. Use these applications to scan and remove threats. If you do have a lot of client information on your computer, you need to assess if ‘on your computer’ is the best place for this data to be. If you don’t need it, erase it, if you do need it – encrypt it or move it to remote storage, so it’s safe in the event of any computer breach. You should be doing this for data protection reasons anyway.
On a final note, we should talk about protecting your business interests. There are a lot of freelancers who create – writing, audio, and designs. If you are making, you should seek to copyright and trademark your work to seek financial compensation from those who seek to use it. This is especially the case with designers who might see entire ideas and designs lifted on the back of a Google search. While in many instances this can be well meaning, you are the one who has put the hard work in and your ideas deserve to be protected. Following up legally might seem difficult, but you absolutely need to protect your business and projects if you want to get anywhere at all.