With cyber attacks on the rise, do you dismiss the possibility you might be affected?
Imagine the inconvenience and hassle of recreating everything on your hard drive. Talk about stress! This months blog focuses on ways to diminish the impact of such an event.
While we may not be able to prevent such attacks from happening, we can manage our response by preparing. I know I rest easier knowing that several systems are in place to protect my data and passwords.
To that end, I invited my husband Michael to cover three topics I consider essential for everyone. Michael is a life-long technology professional who continues to contribute in his field every day. I hope you will find this month’s blog useful and that it will inspire you to take action now.
Resilience and Personal Technology
I once was the IT director of a firm where the president’s PC “lost” a hard drive. The hard drive was still physically there, but the PC reported that the drive was not present. No amount of coaxing could bring back the drive or the data.
I was expecting to deal with an irate boss, but, surprisingly, he said that he had never felt so free and he looked forward to starting fresh on his projects without the baggage of all his old data. Yes, this really happened. No, he wasn’t being sarcastic.
We can’t all be that evolved.
Who hasn’t experienced the feeling of utter loneliness, anxiety, and stress when a document we absolutely need for an impending deadline is lost, or worse, irreparably corrupted? Let’s face the facts – when technology fails, there will be stress. However, there are ways to increase your technological resilience so that when it happens, you’ll be thankful you took steps to prepare.
Who has your back?
The first tip is the most basic: backup your data. Regularly.
Many people object to backing up because it often becomes an IT project in itself. But it doesn’t have to be. Take any files you’re currently working on and simply copy them to a USB stick drive. Create and name the folder you save them to on the stick so you can easily find them. This is the simplest kind of back up.
If you want more peace of mind, you can also back up an entire folder – or an entire drive – to an external hard drive. You can do this manually or use software of your choice.
The pro tip that really reduces the stress when you actually need to retrieve your backup is this: practice the act of restoring data you back up. Whether from a USB stick or a hard drive, knowing how to retrieve your data before you need it will save you from mourning the loss of your data.
The kinds of clouds you can’t see
You may have heard about ‘the cloud.’ Oversimplified, the cloud is massive, shared data storage living on the internet. And you can use the cloud to backup data automatically.
Data stored in the cloud is also easy to retrieve. It resides on the server, waiting until it is needed, and stays in the original format.
Addionally, for many of us, the cloud helps make our data accessible on all our devices wherever we are. It can also ensure that our data is synced, so that it’s always up to date no matter which device is used to make the last update.
Losing a device (or having it break down) doesn’t mean losing your data on that device (or any device) because the data is replicated in the cloud, ensuring it’s always safe. If you’re interested in checking out some cloud storage solution, a few options worth looking into are iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox or Box. Take a look at what each system has to offer and see which works best for you.
Remember that just because you’re storing your data in the cloud doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be backing up your most important files locally. And regularly.
“Your password is incorrect”
So many of our critical Internet services require passwords. How many of us experience daily tech anxiety when we see these four words: your password is incorrect. Hence, we furtively write down our passwords on post-it notes, on slips of paper, or worse, we use the same password for all our accounts.
I have a secret to share with you. I don’t know any of my passwords. The reason why: I use a password manager. This software generates unique and secure passwords to each of my accounts, and securely stores and syncs them, so they are available on all my devices and browsers. I only have to remember one ‘key’ password to get to all my passwords. I highly recommend looking at password management software such as 1Password, Dashlane or LastPass to see how you can become more secure – and never need to remember passwords ever again.
Having spent a life in technology, I can confidently say that we will all lose data at some point. Whether we accidentally delete a file, are compromised via a cyber attack or forget passwords, it will happen. Utilizing resilient systems reduces stress and allows us to bounce back after misfortune. Take time now to set up these systems – it’s worth the effort and peace of mind.