Keeping Your Tech Safe and Secure
By Brandon Hill, Technology Specialist
In today’s business environment your computer is one of your primary tools. Your computer will contain client documents, client contact information, meeting notes, photos, music, and other important information. Having all of this data stored on your computer effectively “puts all your eggs in one basket”. If anything happens to your computer – hardware failure, physical damage, theft, or malware – you could lose everything or allow sensitive client information to leak into malicious hands.
Passwords are effectively the keys to your data. If they are easily guessed, or in plain sight, you are providing easy access for the most amateur attacker. Think of it as putting a spare key under that obviously fake rock by the front door of your house. For that reason it’s very important to adopt a password policy to protect your access. There are a few important parts of that policy. Be sure to use complex passwords containing an upper and lower case letter, at least one number, and a symbol. Try to avoid dictionary words. Do not write down your password/s on or around your computer. Also change your passwords frequently so if a password is compromised you can limit the time someone has access to your data. Lastly, don’t share passwords with colleagues.
Software updates are easy but are one of the most frequently overlooked parts. Installing updates for your operating system and other software on your computer is simple and important. Software updates do a few things: they provide compatibility with new and changing content, they fix bugs and errors, they add new functionality, and (most importantly) they fix security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities, if left unpatched, could leave an open door for an attacker.
Antivirus and Antimalware software isn’t optional and typically come as one complete software solution. The software can be had for a minimal cost and is very simple to install with just a few clicks. Having antivirus software that is kept up to date can prevent most infections that can do things like hold your data for ransom, delete important files, render your computer unusable, or make your computer a player in an attack on someone else.
Backing up your data is another often-overlooked activity. It does not prevent infections, make your computer run faster, or stop an attacker from stealing your data. Instead it allows you to recover from an attack, theft, hardware failure, or disaster where your computer is destroyed. Backup software can be purchased from many vendors that offer an easy to install application for a relatively small price. The subscriptions come with technical support to help you install and ensure everything is working as it should.
Hard Drive Encryption
All of the things we have discussed are important and must be in place to help add security. But the strongest password, fully updated software, and the best antivirus software won’t protect your data if someone has physical access to your computer’s hard drive. With no special tools and no “hacking” experience someone with physical access to your hard drive has full access to your data. Hard Drive encryption scrambles the data on your hard drive so that even if someone gains physical access to your hard drive they can’t access your data. Most modern operating systems have the ability encrypt your hard drive with no added cost. Setup is simple in most cases with only a few mouse clicks.
Please email Brandon Hill if you have any questions at