In the past you got a job and stayed with 1 company for years, but these days things are a lot different. Enter the freelance contractor.
They are self employed individuals who work for themselves and only take on the jobs they want to do, often to the highest bidder, putting them firmly in control of their careers.
It isn’t unusual for a freelance contractor to work for many different companies in the same sector, which has led to one expert claiming this is a “security risk.”
Not only that, but in a recent survey of business managers, 51% said they thought that freelance contractors were the weakest security link within the company.
I do agree to some extent, especially when you start to get into areas such as IT where important data is stored and you get freelance contractors coming in from the outside who are given access to this data, then there is the potential for things going wrong.
Who can forget about the recent incident involving an IT freelance contractor and British Airways? The airline company are claiming this 1 contractor single handedly brought down their entire system, causing chaos that lasted for days. Who knows for sure exactly what went on, but it just goes to show what can happen.
Things are not going to change though, and the one thing I do know is that the world of freelance contracting is going to get even more people joining the ranks over the next few years, with some pundits claiming that 40% of the workforce will be freelance contractors by 2020.
It’s a win-win situation, as companies get a flexible workforce that can be quickly downsized when required, while the freelance contractors have the ability to set their own hours and choose a schedule that suits them.
Unfortunately, things will go wrong from time to time, whether it is with a contractor breaching security or even passing on sensitive information to a rival company.
These kind of incidents do happen I’m sure, although I think freelance contractors are generally a good bunch who are focused on doing their best for any company they work for.
However, according to the expert, “when data is shared, it opens up the possibility of it being compromised by hackers.”
This is something I agree with, because as we all know, some of these hackers only need the slightest opening to gain access to a system, which is why, in my opinion, companies should be more educated about the risks involved when hiring freelance contractors and then taking the necessary steps to protect themselves.
One way is work out an automated system that restricts access to data, which means freelance contractors only see the information that is needed to complete the job.
The only downside is that coming up with these kind of systems can be complicated and expensive, but once in operation all of their data becomes a lot more secure.
For now though, freelance contractors are still a “security risk,” although companies around the UK will still want to hire them for important projects.