How freelancers and small businesses can balance digital creativity with online security

How freelancers and small businesses can balance digital creativity with online security

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Guest writer

Freelancers and small businesses face a huge range of challenges every day. Whether it is rising fuel costs, difficulty hiring qualified staff or increased competition online. So you might think that one area where a company can be completely free and relaxed about their output is when it comes to the creative side of their work. 

SMEs and freelance workers generally benefit from being visually creative online. Customers respond to brands with eye-catching and engaging marketing materials across digital channels. The more that you can do to stand out and be different, the more likely you are to win over your audience. However, just as with all aspects of business, with success comes some drawbacks.

Indeed, being visually creative and interesting can, unfortunately, make your company more of a target for cybercrime. Whether this is in the form of competitors stealing ideas or cybercriminals using the success of your social media and marketing channels to their advantage, it pays to be aware of the dangers from all sides. 

In this article, we take a look at how you can be visually creative without being vulnerable to cyber attacks and provide some valuable support for tackling security issues.

Balancing creativity and security

There is no doubt that a challenge for any modern business is finding a balance between maximising the quality of the marketing and creative word they carry out and ensuring that the company remains as secure as possible from the threat of cybercrime. Creativity can play a big role in your ability to market your business effectively. 

It is essential to find a way to maximise both elements, as each can be completely crucial to the success of your company. In many areas, it is important to have security in mind, even in creative scenarios. 

Cybercriminals can weaponise social media

One of the most effective ways to utilise creativity in marketing is via social media content. SMEs can have free reign on these platforms to operate a little outside of their usual content guidelines and be more creative. Unfortunately, however, social media is another area that cybercriminals are able to take advantage of businesses.

Social media profiles are sometimes seen as an easy target by cybercriminals. It is considered that staff are less likely to use strong passwords for social media accounts, meaning that they can be hacked more easily. One key problem here is that social media accounts are increasingly used by companies as an official customer service platform, which makes customers trust accounts more. 

Secure contract signing

Another factor that is sometimes overlooked by small businesses looking to manage their visual creativity and cybersecurity comes in the form of keeping documents and files secure. Whenever a company works with a producer of visual marketing materials such as graphic design work and videos, it is important to get sign-off and legally verifiable documents.

This is something that can be achieved online via secure and legally binding eSignatures. Having this kind of legal document in place provides you with proof that you own the work which can help with potential copyright infringement and document theft issues, as we discuss below.  

Stealing images and visuals

It is, unfortunately, the case that many businesses put a great deal of time, effort and expense into creating high-quality images and visuals, only to have them used without credit on other sites. 

“If you are investing a lot of money in your equipment and visuals, you need to make sure your images are protected,” says Craig Chapman at camera and audio-visual equipment specialists MPB. “More businesses than ever are putting money into high-quality equipment – but nothing is more frustrating than finding your own images being used on a competitor’s site”. 

Your first point of action should be to get in contact with the owner of the site to ask them to remove any images or visuals that you own the copyright for. In most cases, this will be enough to get the image taken down. In more serious circumstances, it is possible to take legal action. 

Providing staff with training

One of the most effective moves that you can make in order to balance your creativity with security is ensuring that you aren’t leaving cybersecurity simply to your IT team. You might assume that IT staff are the ones who can deal with any and all cybersecurity problems, but in reality, your defences are only as strong as the weakest link.

As such, it is vital that you provide in-depth and regular cybersecurity training to all members of staff. It is your staff who are most likely to be targeted with phishing emails or other forms of cybercrime. If they aren’t wise to cybercriminals’ methods, they can easily fall victim. 

Outsource to specialists

It is worth noting that the majority of businesses don’t have the kind of cybersecurity knowledge and expertise in-house to keep themselves protected at all times. Indeed, it is often prohibitively expensive for SMEs to bring a team of specialists and employ them full-time. As such, it can be a better use of your budget to outsource.

Cybersecurity specialists are used to working with companies and providing their skills and know-how. This can keep a significant portion of your budget free to work on more creative pursuits and invest in other areas of your business. 

The importance of creativity and the power of visual marketing cannot be overstated. In the modern marketplace, SMEs in virtually every industry can use powerful visual marketing to level the playing field against larger competitors. However, it cannot be the case that using this type of marketing leaves you more vulnerable to cybercrime.

It is necessary for businesses of all sizes to focus their efforts on cybersecurity, not only for the sake of customers but to keep all crucial elements of their operation secure. By using digital technologies such as eSignatures and understanding the potential dangers lurking on social media, businesses can be better prepared to mitigate cybersecurity risks. This allows for visual creativity without the worry for the security of your small business.

Signable has you covered 

Our eSignatures are safe and secure, with SSL encryption on every page you visit on the Signable website. This means that no one can snoop on your password or the documents you send and sign using our services.

Every action from the point of uploading is logged in a full audit trail that’s attached to the corresponding envelope in your account. You’ll be able to see right down to the minute when the signee has opened the document.

Think that Signable could be for you? Sign up for our 14 day free trial today.