We are knee-deep in the Information Age. As the name of the age suggests, information is one of the most valuable forms of currency around. Everywhere you go, someone is trying to get your information. The usual purpose of this is commercial: the more companies know about you, the better they can sell to you.
When you start a business from home, you’re putting your privacy at risk. Businesses need to be open and accessible. But if that business is based in your home, what do you do? You need to be cautious.
Keeping private online
A strong Internet presence is a must for businesses these days. What you must remember is that pretty much everything you put online can be traced back to you. This includes anything you write in emails.
Make sure you have separate business accounts in all Internet areas. Don’t use your personal social media accounts or email address. Create brand new Facebook and Twitter accounts specifically for your business. You should also create a new email address.
The only way your emails are safe is if you use an encrypted email. Encryption of email messages is a must if you want to protect the content from being read by people other than the intended recipient. Resources like sharefilm.com can help keep your online business interactions protected.
Your home address
Ideally, you would never give out your physical address (where you live). In a perfect world, the only people with this information would be friends and family who you trust.
But won’t customers need to have an address for your business? Yes, that’s true. But just because your business is at home, it doesn’t mean you have to use your home address. Consider using a virtual address (some call it a ghost address). This is a place where mail is sent but is not where you are located physically. Using sites like physicaladdress.com, you can provide a virtual address on your website. Mail will be sent to that address and scanned by the company, who will provide you with the images. You can then select what will be sent to your home address.
Your mobile phone
Smartphones are not hard for hackers to access. If you’re going to use a smartphone to handle business, we suggest not using your personal phone. That places, as the saying goes, too many eggs in one basket. You could consider getting a new smartphone for business purposes. This will also allow you to hand out a phone number for business purposes without handing out your personal number. Better yet, get a business landline set up at your home office. Use this to conduct as much telephonic business as you can, instead of a smartphone.
Even if you do get a second phone, you should be extremely cautious with the information you enter into it. You should also keep that phone (and your personal phone) disconnected from unfamiliar Wi-Fi hotspots. Criminals are known to set up free Wi-Fi access in public places. Unsuspecting users who log onto the hotspot can then be monitored. Passwords, credit card numbers and account information will all be at risk.