Your data is valuable

Is your data safe?

Does your business or personal life rely heavily on the contents of your computer?

Do you have a collection of irreplaceable photos or a music library on your systems?

How about the time it would take to manually download and reinstall multiple programs including re-registering those with a license key?

There are multiple threats that can cause you to lose it all unless you take some common sense preventative measures.

Threats include:

  • Hard drive failure. They WILL fail some day.
  • Power surge or lightning.
  • Corruption of your operating system.
  • Malware.
  • Ransom Ware.
  • Natural disaster, fire, flood.
  • Theft, vandalism.
  • Loss.

What to do.

1. Buy a decent UPS battery backup and plug your computer into it. Bigger is better if you would like to have more time to finish what your doing. I suggest 1000VA. If you also use WiFi on your cell phone it is a good idea to plug your router into that backup as well as any cordless base telephone you may use. Quite often a power failure will not otherwise cause you to lose your ISP connection so having that on a battery backup can keep you connected. I also suggest a surge protector ahead of your UPS.

Best options will also have surge protection as well as voltage regulation built in and produce SINE wave power to replicate what comes from your power company.

2. Back up your computers.  There are two versions of doing this.

a) Keep a copy of critical files such as bookkeeping, photos etc. on a second drive. You can encrypt to save space. There are some good free programs to keep these up to date automatically. Keep in mind this is to protect the loss of data in case of hard drive failure but will not protect your operating system or installed programs. Also in the case of ransom ware or malware, having that data on a drive that is internal or always connected may offer no protection.

b) Once a month at least create an drive image backup on a separate drive then UN PLUG it and put somewhere safe. This is your life line in the event of a disaster. All operating systems have this ability.  An IMAGE FILE is a compressed copy of your entire hard drive(s) and can put your system back to where it was when backed up after reinstalling the operating system. If your computer is your business make TWO images on two drives and stash one somewhere safe from natural disaster. It could save your business. ( FYI those images can actually be mounted as if a separate drive to access individual files )

External hard drives are really inexpensive these days.  Worth every cent when your system is down.

Examples under $60 for 2 TB USB drives which will give you a lot of room to save a disk image as well as day to day copies of critical files, photos, music etc. Remember do NOT leave these plugged in after doing a system backup because they would also be at risk from malware. The safest drive is one that is unplugged and in another location.

Here is a nice book on personal data protection. If you want more comprehensive info try this book.

2TB Western Digital and 2TB Seagate ( Either is a fine drive, Amazon. )

Aside from preparing for these disasters the preferable method with regards to malware is to avoid it in the first place.

Make sure you keep up to date antivirus and anti malware software running.

Passwords: Use complex passwords. Don't use the same password multiple places. You can install a free encrypted plugin to remember those.

Add email accounts!  If you like to join forums and other social media platforms create a separate email account just for that purpose. Those are the places that tend to get hacked by email scammers. Much easier to protect yourself that way when they cannot get your main email. Places like Tutanota and Proton Mail offer free encrypted email accounts. It's not too late to change your email.

Don't click links in emails or save attachments you don't recognize! Not even for that free money from a Nigerian prince!  He wants YOUR money...not to give you his. If you even think it might be from a company or bank you do business with many will not send you emails. If in doubt don't click, use their regular means to communicate such as calling them or log in to your online account to verify. NO government agency will send you an email to click unless it is in direct response to a request initiated by you.

Also...not specifically related to your data, email scams are on the rise so assume any threat is a scam. Never take it seriously if someone says they recorded your web cam and want you to send them bitcoin.  They did not record you.