Tech News & Tips
Your hard drive may crash. Thieves could steal your laptop at a café. You may realize on Friday that you desperately need the now-departed Wednesday version of an important document that you significantly altered on Thursday. At times like these, what do you do? How do you retrieve that file you’ve overwritten? How do you get the data from a laptop that’s been wiped and hocked at a local pawn shop?
The answer is backups. A simple process of backing up your important data, whether it be to an off-site cloud location, an on-site external hard drive, or any other method; backing up your data is key to good business practice. So what needs to be backed up? What data needs to be stored and preserved? How often should you backup?
You should backup your word processing files, spreadsheets, and similar documents every day. Any basic backup program can perform incremental backups in which the program copies only the files that have changed since the most recent previous backup. Good backup programs also perform versioning, that is, they keep several iterations of the same file on hand and enable you to choose which version to restore.
Not all backup systems or backup applications are able to reconstitute a computer system or complex configurations such as computer clusters, active directory servers, or a database server, by restoring only data from a backup, so finding the right backup provider and device is vital.
Since a backup system contains at least one copy of all data worth saving, the data storage requirements are considerable. Organizing this storage space and managing the backup process is a complicated undertaking, but a good data repository model can be used to provide structure. In the modern era of computing, there are many different types of data storage devices that are useful for making backups and there are also many different ways in which these devices can be arranged to provide geographic redundancy, data security, and portability.
Before data is sent to its storage location, it is selected, extracted, and manipulated. Many different techniques have been developed to optimize the backup procedure. These include optimizations for dealing with open files and live data sources as well as compression, encryption, and inline variable-length de-duplication, among others. Plenty of organizations and individuals work to define measurements and validation techniques and try to have confidence that the process is working as expected. It is also important to recognize the limitations and human factors involved in any backup scheme.
With any backup solution that you choose, be sure there is a way to test your data and make sure you can reconstitute it whenever you need it. Also, having multiple copies of your backup data stored on both short and long term media can be useful if all your measures to protect your organization fail to work properly.
You can backup almost anything these days from portable devices to large data center environments. Protect what is imperative for your business function on a daily basis. Don’t take anything for granted. After a data loss, many organizations find out they no longer have the information they need in order to conduct their business.
Protecting your data from loss and failure is the first piece of advice most technology professionals will offer up, but what is the first line of defense for you and your business against data corruption, theft, and viruses? Good anti-virus/malware/spyware/adware is key to the security and health of not only your machine, but also your network and all the machines connected to your network. A single breach on your network can lead to widespread issues for all the computers, printers, and other devices in your office.
So what steps do you and your company need to take to ensure the virtual security and livelihood of your machines? To answer that let’s first examine what threats you face. Viruses, spyware, adware, and malware are all types of programs that can infect, corrupt, take over, and use your machine without you knowing it before it is too late. They might be there to steal your processing power, take your personal information as a simple malicious prank, or as a way of coercing revenue towards an endeavor. While the reasoning behind the creation of these programs is subjective, they all pose a very real threat to the security of your business.
The first step is to establish a strong computer security suite on your machine and the various machines in your workplace. Your security portfolio should include an anti-virus program and a program for malware, spyware, and adware. Some programs offer coverage for multiple types of threats. These programs should be standardized across your network for the ease of making sure that your programs are up to date and operating properly as well as for being sure that you know exactly what you are covered against.
The most common issue with amateur computer security setups is conflicting programs. There are countless programs out there to protect your machines and ensure the security of your office. Some programs are significantly better than others and some conflict with each other, so only install what you need. It’s important to know that setting up a bad set of computer security programs could actually be more damaging than installing nothing at all.
Taking the time to adequately assess your needs in terms of security is bound to save you time and money in the long run.
While security software is a great first step toward overall security, it is worth noting that all the security software in the world will not protect you sufficiently without proper data backups. Secure, redundant data backups offer you the best safeguard against cyber threats and data loss. In our next blog we will further address data backups, what should be backed up, and how and when to back up your data.
How safe are you and your business online? Cyberattacks and ransomware are everywhere in the news and are affecting major corporations, websites, and even the government. Unless you live under a rock, you should already know the importance of running up-to-date antivirus software, and keeping your operating system, browsers, and runtimes (such as Java and Flash) fully patched and up-to-date. Here are five additional ways to protect you and your business that are often overlooked online.
Utilize Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication is a process that requires you to enter multiple pieces of information before accessing a website. Often times it takes the form of a username/password combination with a PIN or personal question. Two-Factor Authentication provides an extra buffer against password failure, auto-fill, and compromised linked accounts in the case of a hostile attempt on your data.
Change Passwords Often
An easy way to keep online accounts such as Dropbox secure is by changing the password every so often. If an online account does not offer two-factor authentication, you’ll definitely want to make sure you change the password frequently in addition to using passwords that are unique- using upper and lowercase letters, as well as numbers, and symbols. Although constantly changing passwords can seem tedious, it is an easy way to ensure online security.
Don’t Use Auto-Fill
Auto-fill is a commonly used and highly convenient feature in almost every browser in use today. This allows usernames, passwords, addresses, and other information to be filled-in instantly, saving you the task of locating and typing the information each time. This is a great liability. All it takes is for someone to log into your online banking, PayPal, or utilities accounts to access highly valuable personal information. Stay away from autofill on any sensitive or personal website.
Don’t Link Accounts
Linking accounts is something almost every major company is pushing you to do these days. You are constantly being asked to link your Gmail, your news site, Facebook, online shopping sites, and your Netflix. While this allows your friends (and your favorite corporations) to be in the loop about every minutiae of your life, you are losing any sense of privacy while exposing yourself to hackers. If just one of those accounts is compromised, they could all be compromised.
Turn Off Tracking
Website tracking is used by advertisers to see what users do before and after purchases to try to predict which products and services to advertise to you. Tracking programs can also be misused by data intruders to obtain passwords, personal information, and credit card numbers.
These five simple steps can make a significant difference in protecting yourself from malicious online attacks including passive hacking attempts, data theft, and ransomware.
Celine does double duty as both the Social Media Manager & Project Manager here at ProBleu. When she's not researching & writing about the latest and greatest in tech, she enjoys traveling, cooking up new recipes, & cycling throughout southern Indiana.