Do you want to feel old? The young adults who are graduating from college today don’t remember what life was like without internet. And the kids you see going through K-12 now? Well, they’re too young to remember what computer discs looked like. For those of us who remember what life was like pre-internet, the degree to which our lives have changed can sometimes feel incredibly scary and overwhelming.
Our idea of hacking came from pop culture movies, and it wasn’t something that could ever happen to us because most of us weren’t hooked up. At school when we chose to type our assignments instead of writing them, we saved our work on physical disks that we carried around with us. For many of us, saving all of our work to the cloud still feels weird and, often, risky.
This isn’t paranoia or a case of “the olds” at work. Even professional experts trained in standard and email data recovery admit, “Data loss is a common problem for computer users. Files can become corrupt or unreasonable for dozens of reasons, leaving you without access to important information.”
Depending on what type of business you run, you might be required to keep hard copies of your work on hand. This is just one way to backup your work and keep it safe if something happens to your devices and/or cloud account.
The best way to keep thieves and data glitches from stealing or losing your work is to save copies of it all on an external hard drive. You might even want to copy the files to a couple of drives that you keep in different locations in case something happens to one of them. This is especially important for any files you want to keep on the cloud, like photos. The last thing you want is to lose years of memories because your cloud server decides to delete files that have been hosted past some arbitrary deadline that they bury in their terms of service.
Wall Off Your Data
You likely already know that you need to vet every cloud server that offers to host your files, right? In addition to making sure the company has the capacity and capabilities it claims, you also need to look into their security protocols. What is their up/down rate? How often do hackers get in? How quickly are those breaches corrected? How will your data be protected if a breach does happen?
It is also vitally important to protect your own devices. Do not rely on cloud-based or virtual protectors. Download solid security software. Look for programs that have firewall capabilities, the ability to thwart malware installations before they are successful. And do not limit this protection to your desktop or laptop. It is equally important to protect your phones and tablets, too. If it connects to the internet, it needs anti-malware protection.
Stop It Early
If you do notice that your files or programs are behaving strangely, disconnect the device from the web immediately. Wonky files are often a sign that your system is corrupted in some way. Take your machines and devices offline until you can repair the files and make sure your system is malware free. And when we say “take your machines offline” we mean physically disconnect them. If your machines are wireless, turn off your wi-fi. You can live without wi-fi for a little while to keep your system safe, right?
By now we all know the major signs of email scams and phishing. But today’s scammers and spammers are getting more creative than ever before. Before you click any link you receive, hover over it to make sure it directs to the website typed into the email or website. Before you hand over your payment or personal information, check for the “https://” that means the site is secure. Look for that padlock and make sure it is locked.
The good news is that as our storage of data changes and evolves, so do our methods or protection and prevention. If you are vigilant, pay attention, and keep your protection up to date, you should be able to keep yourself and your kids safe when connected to the net.