The risk to our personal data has increased exponentially over the past few years, and all businesses are at risk, including those in the creative sector. Photographers may feel safe from risk because they don’t deal with sensitive information or documents as part of their job, but that’s not the case. In fact, depending on the type of photographic work you do, you might be at more risk than you think — journalistsfor example, face higher security risks and could expose themselves to cyberattacks by avoiding the issue.
Cybersecurity continues to dictate how we operate online, and for consumers and business owners, it’s something that informs our processes to mitigate privacy concerns and data breaches. The uncertainty of losing control of data and work can leave a photographer vulnerable, so it’s essential to take precautions – here’s how. Cover photo by Markus Spike
Identify your strengths
The first step in any cybersecurity strategy is to identify what you need to protect and the risks associated with each one. This should be the foundation of your processes, because unless you understand what needs to be protected and to what extent, you always risk missing out on vital elements.
Image source: Photo by Will Porada
Choose the right tools
Since cyberattacks have increased, it has become increasingly important for photographers to innovate and embrace new technologies to protect themselves and their clients. Investments in cybersecurity companies have exceeded $20 billion in 2021a massive increase from previous records, showing that more pressure is being placed on businesses to protect their assets from hackers and data theft.
Photographers should consult with experts in the field and do their own research, not only to know the risks and stay informed, but also to understand how the technology involved in data protection is changing. As a leading cybersecurity company explains, with the ever-changing threat landscape, “it’s important to ensure detection capabilities keep pace‘.
Protect your systems
Photographers not only have their images to protect, but also their client data, account details for billing and more. Antivirus software, phishing protection, and multi-factor authentication systems should all be in place to detect and protect against harmful activity before any damage is done.
This gives photographers the ability to react faster to a threat without hampering their productivity, while facilitating rapid recovery with minimal disruption.
Image source: Photo by Ed Hardie
Review social channels
Social media marketing is essential for any creator or small business owner to grow a business, and for photographers, the visual appeal of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest is perfect. But the information you broadcast to the world should be carefully considered, as details such as locations and personal information can be used to trace individuals and steal their data and even steal identities.
So, audit the information you post. For example, is your location public? Do you have photos of your home or do you share private information with sources or clients? Is your date of birth publicly visible? And are your privacy settings set correctly to protect everything you post? Be aware that privacy protocols on social media change regularly as software changes, so keep monitoring them regularly to stay in control of what is visible to the public.
Know what metadata is shared
When you share your images, you may inadvertently share data that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Pay attention to shared metadata, as this may include times, locations or addresses, contact details, etc. Background details in photos can pose a threat to your privacy, but there is software you can use to edit most types of metadata in image files. You can also use Photoshop’s “Save for Web & Devices” option to edit metadata on none.
Beware of phishing and spearfishing attempts
Phishing is a common threat to businesses, and it can catch freelancers juggling numerous clients and not paying enough attention to requests for bank details or similar information.
Make sure to always be on the lookout for unusual emails, such as those asking for passwords and logins, personal information, or bank details, and verify the sender before forwarding the information. Also, if you receive an email with an attachment, be sure to check with the sender that they have attached a file to the email to verify that it is safe to open. .
Set up a routine
Establishing a routine can help you remember to check all the boxes when it comes to safety. Whether it’s taking photos from your cameras and maps or uploading them to secure hard drives or the cloud, by making a habit of creating a regular system, you’ll know you’ve done it all. what you could to protect your work. It’s also a good idea to make a habit of encrypting your photos as soon as you put them on your computer, so that if you lose control of the computer, an attacker won’t be able to recover them without your password. .
In addition to these basic principles, it is also important for photographers to assess the risks and take the appropriate measures, whether it is to protect the equipment they carry, the type of photos on the devices that could put photographers more at risk or the environment in which they work. Just like in our day-to-day lives, online security should be part of every business owner’s daily routine, so make the effort to make these steps part of the regular workflow rather than a occasionally, to keep your photography business safe.