Today’s post is another one prompted by a Dave’s Computer customer. This time it was a woman who had decided to leave corporate life behind and go freelance. She wanted to know what she needed to be able to work from home securely and how to back up her data so she didn’t lose client briefs. As this subject is also relevant to move people who use computers, I thought it would be a good subject for a blog post.
Millions of people across the world seem to be leaving traditional employment behind in favor of working for yourself. I did it years ago when I first started Dave’s Computers in New Jersey and haven’t looked back since. You will work harder than ever before for a lot less money but nothing comes close to the satisfaction you get from doing it.
As our customer was performing clerical work, her needs were modest. All she needed was a good internet connection, reliable computer or laptop, a VPN, external drive and cloud storage. Most of us have these things already so it wasn’t much of an expense.
A reliable computer or laptop – If you don’t want to buy new hardware for work, you don’t have to. As long as you are using a relatively recent computer with either Windows 10 or Mac OS and keep it up to date, use antivirus, malware scanners and a software firewall, you’re fine.
You will need enough disk space for your work. I would suggest using a separate SSD purely for your work but you don’t have to. If you have a webcam and microphone, virtual meetings will be much easier too.
Decent internet – Remote workers depend much more on a reliable internet connection than home users. Even if you don’t work on the internet, you will need to be contactable and be able to receive and answer emails, messages and Skype calls quickly. It isn’t all about speed but also about reliability. Don’t settle for less than 99.9% uptime.
A VPN – A virtual private network, VPN, is essential. Not only for maintaining privacy when you’re researching online or shopping but also when transmitting customer data. When you run a business, you have to protect customer data at rest, stored on your disk and in motion, which means being sent and received over the internet. A VPN is a cheap and easy way to do that.
External hard drive – This is for backups. You may have gotten away with not losing data when you were a home user but now the stakes are much higher. Use an external hard drive and set your computer to back up to it regularly.
Cloud storage – A backup is only regarded as robust when it is stored in more than once place. Backing up to external storage is one place, another backup to the cloud is another. You can get free storage from most providers so make sure you use it.
It might seem a lot, but most of us have Google Drive, a computer and/or laptop, external storage and broadband. You should all use a VPN too, I have suggested it enough!
If you need help with any of this, come on down to Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. We would be happy to help!