Do your homework. You usually get what you pay for when hiring an independent contractor. Good contractors may come with a hefty price tag, but when the reputation of your business is on the line, only the best contractors should do. Screen all potential contractors and perform a thorough interview to narrow down the best candidate for the task you need performed. Make sure to request references. There are several websites on the Internet where companies can hire IT contractors.
Avoid misclassification. Misclassification of an independent contractor can occur when a contractor receives many of the benefits of an actual employee, such as paid time off or health insurance, or is hired for an indefinite period of time. While the cost savings as a result of not having to pay contractor benefits or payroll taxes sounds enticing, the government enforces tough penalties for misclassification.
Retain knowledge. If you hire an independent contractor to perform tasks around the office, it is important to pay attention to what he or she is doing so that you won’t have to pay for the same services in the future. By learning the processes the contractor used to complete the job, you can use that knowledge in the future to keep costs down and increase security.
Develop a contractor-specific security policy. Intellectual property stored on your computer network is probably worth a lot of money. If you hire a contractor, make sure there is a policy in place to let him or her know your expectations for keeping your assets safe. The contractor should know that protecting sensitive information, such as lead lists, email addresses, medical records, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers should be the top priority while performing the task. Make sure your employees are aware of any security policies, as well.
Ultimately, it is in most companies’ best interest to employ a full-time IT staff, if possible. Full-time IT employees have the time to intimately learn your business’ network and are the best defense against cyber attacks, whereas relying on independent contractors can be expensive in the long run. If your firm does not have the size or scope to require full-time IT personnel, it’s important to set expectations with your IT contractor to ensure your data and systems remain safe and your security expectations are upheld. Whichever option your business chooses, cyber security should be taken very seriously.
Luckily, businesses can hire independent contractors to assist them with all IT-related tasks. Businesses can reach out to contractors for short-term help, such as setting up a network or firewall or designing a company website, or opt for long-term contracts, such as providing 24/7 network troubleshooting support or developing cyber security policies.