If you work from home, or work out and about but manage your admin and other tasks from home then there are a few factors you need to consider to make sure your business is properly secure, and giving you safety in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can to secure your equipment and data. Below are the key areas you need to think about when setting up and securing your freelance business.
Data Storage and Security
Not only do you store your own data such as expenses and tax documents, but you will also store data that belongs to companies or individuals that you work for, which could be sensitive and will definitely be confidential. Especially in light of recent General Data Protection Regulations you need to ensure that all your data is catalogued and secure to avoid it falling into the wrong hands or being published publicly when it shouldn’t be. The use of Cloud drives with secure multiple-password protection is ideal for this, and passwords should never be written down and changed frequently.
For example three years ago I had a brand new laptop, and had been using it for a couple of months. One day it just wouldn’t turn on, and I couldn’t access any data on it. Because it was a brand new laptop I stupidly hadn’t backed any of my own data up into cloud storage or onto a removable disk drive. I then sent it back to be repaired from the company I bought it from and paid extra for data recovery, which they did apparently do but then posted me a hard drive full of someone else’s data, and were not able to find my data! It was a big mess all round and it resulted in me spending a couple of weeks redoing my finance spreadsheets from scratch, which took hours, as well as me losing a lot of photos, including some of my newborn baby! I have since learnt my lesson and not only do I back up my important spreadsheets into the cloud at every save, but at the end of each month I back them up onto a hard drive too, which ensures that I would only ever have a minimum of a months work to redo, if for some reason I couldn’t get access to the version stored online!
Security for your home
As with any business securing your business premises is vital, but especially more so if you work from home as many people just wouldn’t think to have a home alarm system, like you would an alarm system at a business premises. Even if you live in a flat in an apartment building but run a business from it it is worth getting one, not only will it deter anyone looking to break in but it could also reduce your insurance costs too.
Insurance for your Equipment
Accidents happen, as do thefts! Imagine your cat or toddler knocking coffee onto your laptop, or dropping your brand new camera lens, the financial cost could be into the thousands to replace them, and replace them you’ll have to if you want to carry on doing business! And though you may have home insurance sometimes things used for businesses aren’t covered by these basic policies, so you need to ensure you’ve found a policy that will cover you for more expensive equipment loss or damage, including accidental and not caused by the owner! You then need to ensure you are keeping receipts (both digital and hard copy) for your equipment in a secure place, and that you update your insurer when you upgrade your equipment or purchase new items.
Insurance for your work
Professional indemnity insurance is something you’d need to have to cover you for proposed negligence that causes someone loss of business, money or affects their business in another way. This article shows a good example of how insurance helped a web developer to fight for what he was owed when a client decided they didn’t like what he’d done and refused to pay him. It’s definitely worth talking to an insurance adviser to explain to them exactly what you do and how you work with clients to ensure that they can find the right cover for you.
If you don’t yet work from home but are considering a freelance career then my post my best and worst things about being freelance might be worth a read, and trying to improve your freelance business can be hard, but doing some B2B marketing research can really help