Today’s voiceover business professional knows the importance of a strong Web and Social Media presence. Since success our goal, we want to post our demos and information on as many sites as necessary to reach voice casters. In the same way, there can be an increased need for voiceover professionals to practice proper online safety. Practicing smart online safety is vital for your business and personal information’s security.
Whether posting, surfing, or viewing, online safety is an individual responsibility. The Star On-line’s article, Identity Theft Poses A Threat to Every Internet User, notes the most common forms of internet theft occur when a fraudster uses someone’s date of birth and username for online purchases. But for social media networks, it’s “nicknapping.” Using a portion of the words “nickname” and “kidnapping,” nicknapping is the “…classic identity theft, especially since Facebook access is often the master key for other portals connected to the social network,” says Michael Littger, an Internet safety campaigner.
Here are a few suggestions on how to stay safe online (The following section are suggestions and NOT guaranteed or legal advice):
Make online purchases as a “guest.” When shopping, make your purchases as a guest and don’t use your social media logins for buying online. Less is more.
Beware of Phishing. As an online business, be careful of Phishers, those methods that try to obtain financial or confidential information from you through emails or messages that look as if it’s from a legitimate source.
Research unrecognized voice casters or contact sites. Confirm the identity and authenticity of unknown voiceover sources. Type the name in several search engines and on LinkedIn to make sure the site and person are legitimate. Also, review the social media profiles and websites of new contacts. Notice how much information is posted. If a company or person claims to be a significant voice-acting site or manager, there should be some available information or a good summary. If not, you may want to steer clear.
Beware of sites that ask for personally identifiable information. Reputable sources will never ask for your SSN, birthday, or other personal information via email for a voice-acting site or job. For tax purposes, sometimes you must provide some information. Obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to represent you and your voiceover business. For more information, see the U.S. Internal Revenue Service website.
The Small Business Administration’s Top Ten Cybersecurity Tips will help secure your small business:
- Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code.
Make sure each of your business computers is equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.
- Secure your network.
Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
- Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information.
Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.
- Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable
Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites. Depending on the nature of your business, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be informed about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. Hold employees accountable to the business’s Internet security policies and procedures.
- Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often.
Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.
- Employ best practices on payment cards.
Work with your banks or card processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
- Make backup copies of important business data and information.
Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.
- Control physical access to computers and network components.
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
- Create a mobile device action plan.
Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
- Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code.
Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages.
Make your voiceover business as profitable, safe, and secure as possible by making your cyber presence a better place.
After you change those passwords… go ahead and break a lip! 😊