by Michael Waksman, CEO, Jetico
If you have children or pets, most likely you have taken steps to make sure your home is safe. And we can all appreciate a clean home, especially when many of us are living larger chunks of our days indoors.
But it’s not only the most visible hazards and mess that need to be fixed or cleaned. Considering the amount of time we spend in front of our personal and work computers, we should also keep our digital devices in order. By neglecting to do so, in fact, we are running the risk of our sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
While it’s not as straightforward as plugging in the vacuum cleaner, keeping your computer safe and clean doesn’t have to be too complicated. Here’s 5 helpful tips you can follow to avoid data breaches and ensure your device is in good shape.
#1: Let’s Start with the Basics
Before we go any further, there’s a few simple precautions you should take that are essential to maintaining a safe computer.
- Make sure your operating system is always up-to-date by setting your preferences to install updates automatically. This is a default setting on Windows 10, but Mac users can update their preferences by selecting “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” under System Preferences > Software Update.
- Install antivirus softwareand a firewall to provide a first line of defense against online threats.
- Update the privacy settings of your browser, applications, and frequently visited websites.
Download a trusted VPN service to become anonymous online and make it more difficult for cybercriminals to monitor and collect your private information. Virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt all of the data you send and receive over the Internet, which is especially useful if you’re working remotely and don’t have access to your workplace’s secure connection.
A common easy way to get a VPN service is by purchasing a packaged Internet security suite, which typically includes antivirus, firewall, antispam and a VPN tool as well.
#3: Backup Your Data
In order to keep your data safe, you want to make sure there’s no danger of losing it. Hardware problems, viruses, and ransomware attacks can all pose threats to your private information, so having a backup strategy will provide you with a safety net if the worst happens.
You’re free to choose from a few different options when deciding on your backup strategy:
- External hard drive: The most traditional way of backing up data is to copy your sensitive files and folders to an external storage device, such as a USB drive. If you use this option, make sure you encrypt the external drive before you transfer your data as this will ensure your files can’t be accessed by others without permission. Find more information on encryption.
- Cloud storage:Copying your data to a cloud storage service like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox allows you to easily access and manage your backed-up files. Most cloud storage services offer a limited amount of space that you can use for free, while paid solutions include extra storage and encryption services. Even better, encrypt your files before moving them to cloud storage, so if the online account is breached, the files remain private.
- Backup services: Helpful programs can run in the background of your computer and automatically back up your files to a service provider’s web storage. Online backup services are generally paid solutions, but normally offer encryption options and protection from data loss.
#4: Keep Your Data Secure
Now it’s time to talk a little more about encryption. The most effective way of protecting your data from being accessed by prying eyes, encryption is the act of converting data into random characters. In order for this information to be viewed, you need access to a key or password that only you will have.
Although encryption is offered by cloud and backup services, it’s a good idea to purchase a comprehensive solution from an encryption specialist. These solutions generally come in 2 forms:
- Encryption that protects your whole computer from physical threats. This solution provides peace of mind in the event that your computer is lost or stolen.
- Encryption that protects selected files and folders from virtual threats. This solution protects your sensitive data from hackers and data breaches.
- To protect yourself from both physical and virtual threats, you can also purchase an encryption solution that protects your entire drive and selected files and folders.
#5: Stay Clean with Data Wiping Software
Now you know the basics for keeping your computer safe, let’s shift the focus to cleaning up your digital mess! When it comes to using data wiping software, however, you will see that cleanliness and safety are closely linked.
Data wiping software is often associated with completely erasing all the information on a hard drive, but that’s not its only function. You can also use data wiping software to…
- Securely remove files and folders from active computers when they are no longer needed.
- Permanently erase the residual data, otherwise known as data remanence, that is left behind when deleting files by normal means.
- Delete all traces of user activity from your Internet and local history.
By regularly using data wiping software to carry out digital maintenance, you can be confident your private information won’t fall into the wrong hands and your computer is as clean as it is safe! Now you only have to worry about your more noticeable mess…
About the Author
Michael Waksman has been serving as CEO of Jetico since 2011. During his tenure, the company has doubled in size, while growing a wide user base throughout the U.S. Defense community, in the global compliance market and for personal privacy. He brings more than 20 years of communications, technology and leadership experience.
Waksman served as vice-chairman of the Cyber Group for the Association of Finnish Defense and Aerospace Industries. In 2012, Waksman was honored with The Security Network’s Chairman’s Award for fostering collaboration between the United States and Finland. As dual citizen, he is a native New Yorker and has been living in the Helsinki region for over 15 years.
Michael Waksman can be reached at our company website https://www.jetico.com/.