Just like everyone else these days, we live on our machines and devices – they’re practically apart of our family. Our computers, tablets and smartphones keep us connected, informed, and productive. But – just as we care for our loved ones, it’s very important to look out for the well-being of our digital companions too.
From unexpected power outages to the potential threat of cyber-attacks, our online lives can be ruined in the blink of an eye. That’s why, here at WAITS, we have put together a detailed checklist to help you prepare for the unexpected, making sure that you have the knowledge and steps to protect your data, maintain functionality and weather away any IT storm that comes your way.
Power outages are bound to happen whether we like it or not. As annoying as they are, they can be extremely damaging to our machines – especially our computers, servers, and TV’s. When your device is shut down as quickly as it can been in a power outage, it can cause a major system crash in the device. Your operating system, as well as any other software that you had running at the time, can be damaged.
- Invest into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to prevent sudden shutdowns. These are battery-powered systems that are able to keep your device running for a short period of time when the power supply it is connected to is interrupted.
- A simple way to protect your work is to continuously save your work every hour. This is a good habit to get in to. Frequently saving may seem like a waste of time – but it’ll definitely save in you in an inevitable power outage.
- Another way is to invest in surge protected power boards. Everyone uses power boards – there simply isn’t enough power sockets in a house. Instead of buying the cheap, low tier power boards, go a step up and spend a little more. These boards only allow a safe-amount of electricity through your wall and into the board and as such are a high-strength and easy way to protect against power spikes.
Backing up our data regularly is a practice that many of us overlook – and that should be concerning. Well, now is a better time than ever to start!
- Start with automated backups – this simple, fool-proof way of backing up your data is super easy. This can either be done via an external hard drive, or a cloud storage service. As hard drives are extremely finicky and prone to randomly dying, WAITS suggests using a secure cloud storage option. Dropbox is a simple, safe, and easy option.
- Regularly test the restoration process to ensure your backups are working properly. Backups can fail without you knowing – and sometimes this can go on for months, so regularly testing is needed to ensure maximum retention.
- Store your precious data in multiple places. Store one copy on a hard drive, another on a different hard drive, and another in the cloud. Make a note every few weeks to update and download your backups.
A frequently neglected yet straightforward alternative is the offline access strategy. Instead of limiting your data to electronic devices, contemplate the option of printing and securely storing it in a filing cabinet. This approach can be adapted to your specific needs, whether it involves photographs or company data, as the method itself remains consistent.
- Consider printing out important documents and store them in a secure, coded filing cabinet. This ensure no prying eyes get to it, but also can keep it safe in case of cyber-attacks, or if your cabinet is of high quality, fires.
- Do it the old fashion way and start printing out pictures again. Store them in a photo binder and in a high quality cabinet, too.
- Maybe you have too much data and too many photos – then you might want to look into a cloud-based backup service that has offline capabilities that will allow you to continue to use them if you don’t have access to the internet. Google Drive is a good option for offline capabilities.
Regularly maintaining your system is crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Routine maintenance helps identify and address potential security vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. By keeping your system up to date and well-tuned, you can enhance its reliability and protect your valuable data.
- Update your operating system and other applications as soon as an update comes out. This is essential to keeping your device secure and optimized. These updates often include patches that fix vulnerabilities which ensures your system remained protected against cyber-threats all while enhancing the overall performance.
- Invest in a good cyber-protection and manually run regular malware scans. This will detect and eliminate potential threats that will compromise your systems security. Although if you get good cyber-protection, it will alert you to it instantly. But by identifying malware early, you prevent potential data breaches, system shutdowns, and unauthorized access to your sensitive data.
Data encryption is a security technique that transforms information into a coded format, making it unreadable to unauthorized users. This process involves using encryption algorithms and cryptographic keys to convert sensitive data into a scrambled form, which can only be deciphered by individuals with the correct decryption keys. Encryption helps protect data confidentiality and ensures that even if unauthorized access occurs, the information remains unintelligible and secure.
Training and educating your employees to protect data is essential for maintaining the security of your organization. By imparting knowledge about cybersecurity best practices, employees become the first line of defence against potential threats such as phishing attacks and data breaches. This approach helps form a culture of vigilance, minimizing risks and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.
So, now you have the knowledge to go out and make good, informed decisions on how protect your data and your computer in case of an emergency. By practicing these steps regularly, it ensures that your data and your computer are both safe.
If you would like help from our trusted IT experts with over 20 years of experience, then please click here to contact us.
By Sophie Wholer – 6th September 2023