Three unique things make you as a freelancer an easy target for cyberattacks. One of them is the amount of time you spend online, communicating, and working. The second reason has to do with how you handle day to day transactions- online transactions. The third is how mobile you can be; working from coffee shops, on the plane, in transit, in the park, etc.
This means freelancers need to be a little bit more careful than any other person when it comes to online security. A big percentage of online scams target people with the kind of lifestyle a digital nomad has. With rising cases of mass ransomware attacks and public network hacks, you must have certain tools and change your online habits.
With that in mind, here are seven essential tools you should have as a freelancer.
A VPN to secure your communications
As a freelancer, you will often find yourself having to use unsecured public WIFI hotspots. It could in a café or in a shared workspace where security isn’t taken seriously. If this sounds like you, then having a VPN on your devices is a necessity. You should download a VPN to each of your devices and use it to protect your communications from man-in-the-middle attacks (MITMS).
Secondly, almost all freelancers also carry the digital nomad tag, meaning they tend to move from place to place, including between countries and even continents. This mobility can sometimes work against you, especially if you happen to be in a country with internet censorship or government surveillance. In such situations, you can use a VPN to unblock sites and work freely as if you were at home.
An easy-to-use password management service
In this day and age, a digital nomad should be the last person reusing passwords across the internet or using their pet’s names as passwords. Never a year goes by without multiple password leaks being reported affecting popular sites that you probably use every day.
It, therefore, goes without saying that a password management tool is an essential addition to a freelancer’s security arsenal. Luckily, there are cheap and intuitive password management tools out there that make life easy for those with multiple users accounts on the web. If you are a fan of the Google ecosystem and use Chrome, you might find Google Password Manager the most convenient.
Antivirus tools for internet security
Still, on security for freelancers, a comprehensive antivirus tool is an absolute necessity for anyone spending their time online. In recent years, Windows Security Essentials has become so good at detecting simple attacks that people have started ignoring antivirus software; don’t make that mistake.
Antivirus software is still critical for many reasons in the current environment. One, dedicated security companies such as Norton and Avast have better virus detection capabilities. They also dedicate more resources to researching and defending against new viruses. Lastly, they provide additional internet security protection that Microsoft, Apple, or Google never bother about or have capacity for.
Other essential and trusted freelancer tools
It’s impossible to imagine life before project management tools such as Trello came to market. If you are a freelancer serious about getting things done, Trello should form part of your freelancing toolbox. Trello allows you to manage multiple projects, people, and keep track of things that you need to be done.
From creating assignment boards to tracking timelines, managing teams with time-limited cards to team discussions, and real-time notifications. Trello is the ultimate project management and collaboration tools out there. You will fall in love with the simple interface but powerful functionalities and how everything just seems to work as you expect when you use Trello.
- Manage your finances- FreshBooks or QuickBooks
As a freelancer, you will probably find it inconvenient and even costly, hiring a CPA to manage your finances. This is where personal finance tools like FreshBooks and QuickBooks come in. With these tools, you can take care of simple accounting tasks like tracking expenses, invoicing, and generating statements. What’s more, both tools are available as online and native mobile apps.
Both FreshBooks and QuickBooks make it easy for non-accountants to deal with financial tasks such as double-entry and invoicing. For instance, you can use mobile apps for each of them to scan receipts and log the figures in your expenses for accounting purposes. You can also connect your data to a bank and a CPA for other purposes if need be.
- Keeping your notes organized and available- use Notion
Note-taking is a day to day activity for most freelancers. Instead of relying on pen and paper or tools like Microsoft Word that aren’t made for note-taking, you should get a dedicated note-taking tool like Notion. Notion is, by far, the most popular (and for a good reason) note-taking app for freelancers out there.
Notion allows freelancers to take and organize their notes in a very special way using intelligent formatting and organization. Notion is also more than a note-taking tool as it has full project management and organization tools supporting multiple file types.
- Social media tools- buffer or SocialPilot
As a freelancer, social media can make or break you depending on how you use it and what it means for your work. If you are worried about wasting time on social media but still need to use it, you should consider having a handy social media tool like Buffer or SocialPilot.
These tools allow you to manage all aspects of your social media presence without touching the platforms themselves. For instance, you can use them to create and schedule posts, control how you receive notifications, optimizing your social media posts, and so much more.
All in all, a freelancer is as good as the tools at his/her disposal. With the proper tools on hand and good work habits, you can make your freelancing life enjoyable, safe, and more productive. Above all, prioritize your security to avoid the negative aspects of working online.