Best Practices For Protecting Your Data.
Since 2012, October has been European Cyber Security Month. It aims to promote awareness of cyber security threats and promote cyber security among the general public and organisations. This guide aims to educate users, on how you as an individual can help protect your data.
Most people rely heavily on their computers, we shop and bank online, we conduct business and often store years worth of precious family photos on them. So how would you feel if a cyber criminal managed to steal your bank details or maybe even worse hold all of those family photos to ransom? The details below will give you a few pointers on how protect your computer and it's contents. Be sure to read right to the very end and see how you fair on our scoring system
Keep A Clean Computer
Following a few basic rules will help you keep a clean functional computer that is less prone to attacks from cyber criminals.
If you are installing new software from the Internet does the website you are downloading from look legitimate. If they're offering you something that's just too good to be true, it probably is.
If your computer prompts you to run software updates run them immediately. These software updates are typically security updates that patch up new found vulnerabilities in their software.
Purchase an Anti Virus package! Most Anti Virus companies offer a free solution which will typically only offers basic protection. It can save you a whole lot of trouble in the future by spending a little money on a fully loaded Anti Virus package.
When in doubt throw it out! Do not open suspicious links in email, tweets, posts, online ads, messages or attachments – even if you know the source. If in doubt and you know the source ask them about it's authenticity.
In today's digital world the average person has 27 different online logins whether it be email, social media, banking etc. What is almost a certainty is that that same person does not have 27 individual passwords neither do they change their passwords regularly which can be a major security risk.
Try to get in the habit of changing passwords on a monthly basis especially for those important accounts.
Use complex passwords that contain a combination of upper and lower case, symbols and numbers.
Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. You can use an encrypted password manager such as Dashlane or Passpack to help you remember all those different passwords.
Backup Your Data
We're always amazed at the number of customers we speak to who have no functional backup of their personal data (Documents, Music, Photos etc). For some it's not even something they think about until after they've lost it all. The steps below will go a long way to helping you protect and backup your data.
Save everything of value to cloud storage. There are numerous cloud storage solutions available such as Dropbox, Google, One Drive to name a few. All of these offer a free solution with limited storage space, but we'd recommend spending a few pound each month allowing you enough space to store all your data.
Cloud backup is slightly different to cloud storage, in that this is a completely independent backup of your data that is securely stored in the cloud. We've used Carbonite for years which works perfectly and is well priced.
Backup to external hard drive. We would never recommend this as your sole means of backing up your data as hard drives can often be prone to failing, but we'd certainly recommend taking a manual backup of your data alongside one of the other options above.
After reading through this guide how many of the ten practices listed do you carry out already? Between 7 and 10 - Give yourself a pat on the back, you're doing a sterling job in protecting yourself. Between 4 and 6 - You've grasped the basics, but there's still room for improvement. Between 0 and 3 - Stop what you are doing right now and get in touch with us ASAP. We hope that you have found this guide useful, but should you have any questions or require further information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org