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Digital Portfolio Hack: 5 Steps to Get Your Data Back

Along with the rise of digital photography came electronic storage. Photographers went from hanging lines of photos to dry in dark rooms and keeping physical copies of client information forms to shooting with DSLRs and storing client financial, contact and personal information (along with photographs) online. For the most part, it’s a major convenience.

But what if you get hacked? Just like any other business, photographers can become the victims of a data breach. Business insurance for photographers and cyber insurance can help salvage the situation and save your finances after the fact. And following these five steps in the aftermath can help minimize the damage and prevent a repeat occurrence.

Isolate the Hack

When you know for sure that you’ve been hacked, you want to isolate the affected device before any more damage can occur. Disconnect the network cable from a desktop computer and turn off your Wi-Fi (or disconnect manually from whatever Wi-Fi network you’re on). These measures can help save other devices from the same fate and hold off a hacker.

Regain Control of Your Account

Taking back control of your information depends on the nature of the hack. Was one or more of your cloud-based or internet-based accounts compromised? There’s usually a way to engage in account recovery that depends on further authentication. Perhaps it’s your Google drive with all your photos stored, or a payment system that you use to collect payments from clients. Whatever it is, you’ll need to regain control from the hackers and make sure that everything is intact.

Pay the Ransom

What if getting your precious information back isn’t just a matter of account recovery? Ransomware functions by infiltrating your device and locking you out of your own files. Suddenly your digital portfolio is a hostage—and you only have a limited time to decide whether or not to recover it! You may have to pay the hacker a ransom (usually between $300 and $1,000 for small businesses) to get access. It’s a moral dilemma; obviously you want to avoid paying hackers for committing crimes, but you also need your materials and client files back.

Luckily, there’s a silver lining to even this unfortunate situation. Let’s say you were ready to send out a client’s finished wedding photos when a hack locked you out of your own portfolio. Since you can’t deliver the client’s photos on time, you’re technically violating the contract you set with them—a fact they can hold against you in court, asserting that you caused them financial damages. Having professional liability insurance behind you will cover the associated costs of this professional negligence while you get everything sorted out.

Re-Evaluate Your Security

You can’t magically undo a hack, but you can prevent it from happening in the future. Post-data breach is an important time to critically re-evaluate your security. Reset your passwords (using a string of random numbers, letters and special characters rather than your pet’s name), run anti-virus software continually, enable multi-factor authentication and keep close track of all your devices going forward.

Notify Affected Parties

Perhaps the worst part of a hack is notifying clients that their information has been compromised, especially if it contained personal or financial details. The upstanding thing to do here is offer clients a year of credit-monitoring on you if the hack was indeed financial. How can you afford the costs associated with monitoring, notifying and resetting your business? Two words: cyber insurance.

With a little diligence and luck, you’ll be able to get back on your feet and back to snapping pictures. In addition to taking quick action, you’ll want business insurance for photographers and cyber liability insurance on your side.

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