Keeping Your Ideas (and Your Clients!) Safe

Today, there are all sorts of things that make our jobs as web developers and designers easier. The cloud and programs like Etherpad, Twiddla, Speek, etc. allow us to work in real time with our clients even if we live in Portland while they live in Tallahassee. Obviously, while programs like these are a godsend, they can also cause a lot of problems - especially if you are lax with your security - and as we have already discussed, failing to protect yourself is one of the worst mistakes a freelance designer or developer can make.

There is no such thing as being 100% secure while you are online. You can, however, take steps to drastically reduce your (and your clients'!) chances of having to deal with one of the multitudes of threats that now exist for people who operate via the web.

Start With Your Computer

And by this we mean, do not assume that you or your work is safe because you're working on a Mac. Yes, once upon a time, Macs were more secure than Windows machines but those days are absolutely over. Whether it's a virus that you downloaded via open source software or something that crawled in through your cloud connection, your Mac is just as vulnerable to threats as a Windows or Android machine. Remember, though, not all security programs are created equal. You need to get protection that is built specifically for your OS, which means that if you are using a Mac, you need Mac protection software designed for your machine.

secure computer

Don't Rely On Your Own Code

Joe Stangarone talks about this in his post '10 Security Mistakes Web Application Developers Should Never Make.' A lot of programmers, coders and developers have gotten it into their heads that the codes they write to thwart attackers are better than those found in a library or through a service. They assume that because their codes are unique and not found anywhere that attackers will have a harder time breaking them. Wrong! Really Wrong! The reason the codes you find in libraries and through services are successful is because they are put through vigorous testing by many people, not just by a few of your friends who are, like, 'totally the best at hacking, dude.'

Failing to Protect Your Source Code

It's something we all do. We're working on a code or script and then we simply save it somewhere. No encryption, no password protect, just a file sitting on our hard drive or cloud server. This is one of the worst things that you can do! Even if you firewall the heck out of your computers and drives remember that an unprotected network is still an unprotected network. Save the file somewhere that is actually safe and very well protected. Do not, under any circumstances, store it on your phone (yes, according to Kevin Beaver, people actually do that)!

Do Not Blindly Trust Infrastructure

For whatever reason, a lot of you insist that web frameworks increase application security. The fact is that there are lots of frameworks that have huge holes and have experienced some major breaches. Spend some time testing the security of the framework you're using before doing any sensitive work. Obviously, there is nothing that is 100% secure but there's no reason you can't get into the high 90s, right?

These are all things that, really, take very little time to remember to do. There are so many simple things that you can do to protect yourself, your clients and your work.

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