It may be strange to think that in a world of beatmatching and scratching, cybersecurity takes a crucial role. Unfortunately for most DJs, it's not something that is regularly considered until too late. If your love of the craft is more than just recreational, then it's essential that you take great care to protect yourself. Failing to do so could mean the end of your career.
The following four elements all need a bit of extra consideration to make sure security is tight. Otherwise, the repercussions could result in the irreparable reputation damage—or at least a hefty fee to help get you back on track.
Ever had your laptop go down mid-set with the whole club looking at you? It sounds like a nightmare come true, right? This was something that was never really considered in the days of vinyl and turntables. However, as the vast majority of DJs now rely on digital DJ equipment for at least some of their set-up, the chance for a full-blown computer crash is now a very real worry.
Particularly for those who regularly download from the internet, contracting a virus is a very likely possibility. Left unchecked, these infections can spring up at the most unlikely of occasions. To avoid disaster on stage, keeping a regular anti-virus set-up running is essential. As well as providing the first line of defense, these type’s of programs can provide regular scans, which will always let you know if anything suspicious comes up. The worst malware can even find its way into your digital playback systems or audio interfaces, which is such a worst-case scenario that it's not even worth risking.
A bad virus doesn't have to take down your hardware to make your job as a DJ difficult. Thanks to the modern digital set up, most DJs have a whole catalog of available music stored to be able to pick and choose what to include in a set. While this a considerable advantage compared to the days of having to drag your vinyl around with you, it also means that one wrong cybersecurity move and your whole collection could be wiped in an instance.
A contingency for this is simple and easy, however. Alongside ensuring a good basic security set-up—this means antivirus and firewall—it's also essential to back up any important libraries. Whether you opt for cloud storage or a physical hard drive, having your tracks in more than one place will mean there's always a copy on hand if the worst does happen. However, a word of warning: if your hard drive does become infected, avoid plugging it into to other hardware devices to stop the spread of the malware.
It’s not just in protecting the tools of your trade that cybersecurity is an important element for DJs. In fact, its most important influence probably comes when promoting your services. Even as one of the most informal businesses out there, it’s still important for DJs to present themselves as professional and trustworthy. Sloppy personal security practices can go a long way to destroying this image.
Communication accounts, such as Skype, email or social media, are all platforms that fall victim to regular hacking. Although this very rarely amounts to more than a simple malware injection (e.g. your contacts receive an email with an infected link from your address) it could still be detrimental to your career. Imagine being a busy promoter or events manager and having to deal with endless spam emails from one account: you would very quickly delete them from your list. The biggest culprit for this type of hack is public WiFi networks, which more of us rely on for using the web when out and about. This is because these notoriously insecure networks allow other users to view your data. This can be overcome by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will encrypt all your information and allow you to liaise securely.
A similar idea goes for marketing: particularly if you're using social media and blogging accounts to advertise your services. An obviously infected or infiltrated domain will turn fans away and stop you from finding the reach you deserve. While using a VPN will help protect you from this when on-the-go, there is still a risk of falling victim to hackers on a home network.
Because of this, it's wise to be stringent about your social media security. One big aspect of that is password protection. It may seem frustrating that so many websites require complex and varied passwords, but honouring this is one of your greatest protections against cybercriminals who use brute force attacks to try to gain access to accounts.
Similarly, if you host a website using WordPress or a similar platform, it’s worth exploring your options for security plug-ins. If listeners contact a virus because they have accessed your site and you didn't notice the malware, then it will undoubtedly destroy your reputation on the scene.
By no means should cybersecurity be the main focus for a DJ, that realm belongs to perfecting seamless mixes, knowing how to psyche a crowd and getting your sound out to where people can hear it. However, it is something that deserves consideration. By following these points, you can secure your set-up and ensure you never get stuck in a sticky situation with your work.