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Managing your digital assets: tips for freelancers

In our fast-paced, digital working economy it can be very easy to be leaving a trail of poor security, compromised data sharing, and a careless digital footprint - all without even thinking about it. For most of us freelancing, we are the first generation of digital natives. And beyond recommending programs to try or spend money on, how can freelancers better manage their digital assets?

It can be about productivity, but it is about your personal digital economy

It goes without saying that the natural dialogue around digital assets will overlap with productivity, and productivity can include improvements to managing your digital assets. But this is more about the digital ‘economy’ you create for yourself. If you make or share files with clients - how can you ensure your safety and their safety? How do you avoid having over 10 email accounts to make sure you can sign up for all your services? How do you make sure your personal digital spend and business digital spend all work well together? For most of us, we will submit and work on a computer for our work and for everyone at some point, they surely will. So, instead of approaching the issue like ‘’I want to solve problem X’’ ask yourself, what does your bigger digital picture look like?

Templates!

So firstly, and this is something very common when people begin, try and create templates for yourself. Maybe even forms for questionnaires? Basically, anything that you would think another client may need - in a similar style or fashion, simply, make it a template! If you do this, every time you add a new client or enter a new financial period, you can simply copy that folder template. This saves time and provides the consistency you need when you need to retrieve files or documents from multiple clients/projects.

Security

Apps play a bigger role in most users' daily online interactions than traditional websites. This does not mean that the basic rules of cybersecurity have changed. Hackers are still looking for personal information that they can use to access your credit card or account information. Protecting yourself on the internet is extremely important. However, although we all like to take cybersecurity seriously, sometimes the vocabulary can be quite complicated - especially if you are not exactly a technical expert. Here are a few business-related terms that come up over the course of sharing information online:

  • Pharming

Attempting to access users' personal information through a fake website, such as through a fake PayPal website. 

  • Phishing

Attempts to trick users into forging personal information using fake emails or messages. Never click on a link in an email if you do not know who sent it or where it goes. 

  • Spam

Unwanted comments or messages that contain text or offer to buy something in which you have no interest. 

  • Website spoofing

Creating a fake version of a real web page (such as a PayPal page) with the goal of tapping users' personal information. 

  • Spyware

A type of software that spies on you while stealing your data and passwords. 

Maybe you already know these terms - but it worth covering again, as it is security 101 but the implications can be even bigger when nasty net criminals get a hold of your business information. Managing your digital assets really starts with security, and here are some more tips to explore this:

1. Limit yourself to a few but serious personal information.

Potential employers or clients do not need to know your relationship status or private address. All you need to do is know your background and professional background and how to get in touch with you. After all, they would not give out strangely private information to any strangers - so you should not share them with millions of online users.

2. Pay attention to your privacy settings.

Marketing experts want to know everything about you - as do hackers. Both can find out a lot about you based on your browsing habits and social media usage. But you can protect your information. Settings are available in web browsers and mobile operating systems to help you protect your privacy online. Even large websites like Facebook offer privacy enhancements. These settings are sometimes (deliberately) difficult to find because companies like to use your data for marketing purposes. Make sure your privacy settings are turned on and do not disable them.

3. Pay attention to your surfing habits.

You probably would not walk through a dangerous area of ​​your city - then you should avoid that online too. Cybercriminals often use dubious content as bait. They know that users sometimes look for questionable content, forgetting any caution. The world of the Internet is full of hidden pitfalls that reveal your business information or infect your device with malware through an unsuspecting click. By resisting the temptation, do not offer attackers hackers.

4. Use a secure Internet connection.

If you surf the Internet in a public place which many freelancers do, e.g. over a public WLAN, you have no control over its security. Enterprise security experts talk about "endpoints" - these are the places where there is a connection between the private network and the outside world. Your most vulnerable endpoint is the local Internet connection. Make sure the connection is secure. If in doubt, postpone entering personal information, such as: your account number, at a later time when you can access a secure WLAN.

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5. Select Downloads carefully.

The ultimate goal of cybercriminals is to get you to download malware, programs that carry malicious code or steal information. This malware can be camouflaged as an app: from a popular game to a traffic or weather app.  Especially when using business devices, you must exercise extreme diligence.

6. Use strong passwords.

Der, but it is still amazing how many freelancers are not doing this. Passwords are one of the biggest flaws in the entire security structure of the Internet. Unfortunately, there is still no way around them. And the problem of passwords is exacerbated by the fact that users are more likely to resort to those they can easily remember, such as eg "password" or "123456". Such passwords are easy to guess even for cyber thieves. Instead, choose strong passwords that are hard for cybercriminals to crack. Password management software can help you manage multiple passwords and make sure you can remember them, just give it a quick Google and asses based on your situation. A strong password is unique, complex, at least 15 characters long and contains letters, numbers and special characters.

7. Make purchases only on secure pages.

Every time you buy something online, you need to provide credit card or account information - something that every cybercriminal licks his finger. Provide information only on pages that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can see secure pages because the address starts with https: instead of http: The "s" stands for Secure (ie "secure"). Safe addresses are also indicated by a lock icon in the address bar.

8. Choose your contributions carefully.

There is no delete button on the Internet, ask any celebrity or politician. Any comment or picture you post online may remain online forever, as deleting the original (such as Twitter) will not delete the copies created by other users. There is no way to "take back" things you would rather not have posted, or remove embarrassing selfies from parties. Do not put anything online that you would not show to your mother or a potential employer.

Safe, Secure Digital Banking

Again, this is all the stuff that seems obvious but are you taking all these steps in your business as well as personally? Here at Kontist we are obviously going to bring up our banking solution - a tried and secure digital-first solution for freelancers. Obviously, the benefits of automated tax calculation and automated accounting make it pretty easy to understand why this is a great product for freelancers. But, it IS very secure, meaning you do not have to compromise security for efficiency. With the banking app, you can open a business bank account in under 10 minutes, and do your banking anywhere, anytime. These transaction notifications ensure you never miss an account update - which is also incredibly important for tracking illegitimate or suspicious account activity. You limit your risk, get the benefits or IRL digital, but also can tell straight away when there is a problem!

One program will not solve all of your digital asset problems!

[We've spoken about managing emails before] and of course one could easily say, OK, well I will get an email app. So they do. Then it is an app to record receipts, to make scans, to store large files… and the list goes on. This can not only be costly but defeat the purpose of streamlining your digital assets. Try and look online for turnkey solutions based on your situation - and that is the last, and one very important tip for freelancers managing their digital assets.