Ten practical ways to better secure your data – Part 1

Bike with padlock
Padlocking your bike is a practical way to secure it – there are similarly straightforward ways to secure your data. Image courtesy of Unsplash

The Heartbleed bug, ransomware scammers, ever more dodgy emails landing in your inbox… it all makes for a tough world for computer users. But there are some easy ways to protect yourself.

Over a series of three posts, we will discuss 10 easy ways to protect your data.

First, use a password manager. These may be a bit of a pain, but they generate the complex passwords you need but can’t possibly remember. No one could. The password manager saves them all for you too. One tip: make sure you choose a cross-platform one, so you can access both your PC and your mobile devices. If you add in two-factor authentication to this as well, you will give your already robust passwords another huge boost. This is the second easy way to protect yourself.

Computer Forensics‘ Brian Eardley-Wilmot is a big supporter of two-factor authentication.

“Thankfully, this is becoming more widespread. It involves using two out of three factors, to prove correct access authorisation.

“The first of these factors is ‘something you know’, usually your password; the second is ‘something you have’, usually a short one-time code obtained from a synced handheld dongle, PC or smartphone app. Lastly, there is ‘something you are’, usually your fingerprint or iris, detected by software on your device, like the iPhone’s fingerprint ID option.

“New Zealand banks increasingly make of use of two-factor authentication. It may not be fool proof – nothing is – but it does make passwords really robust.

Third on the easy-to-do protection list is that old security standby – the back up. But do it twice. And don’t just back up to an external drive at your home or office either.

“If you back up externally, you will be protected from burglary, fire, and earthquake damage,” says Eardley-Wilmot.

“You can back up online or use a local disaster recovery service. It depends on your needs and your budget. If your needs are simple, and you don’t have a huge amount of data, you can shop around and find something not too expensive or even free. But, if your needs are large, it is worth paying for such a service as the consequences of loss don’t bear thinking about. You could lose your whole business if your data is compromised and you have no back up.

“Be paranoid about your backups – expect the worst and you’ll be much safer.”

For more on ‘practical ways of protecting your data’ be sure and check our blog regularly…

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