Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but it has also created new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in our personal security. It’s easy to overlook the potential security risks posed by everyday objects we use.
App Fatigue Can Hurt Security & Productivity. Learn How to Stop It
We all rely heavily on technology to keep up with the demands of our fast-paced lives. With so many applications at our fingertips, it’s easy to fall into the trap of app fatigue.
What Should I Do If My Netflix Account is Hacked?
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services, with millions of users worldwide. But with its growing popularity comes the risk of cyber-attacks. Many people don’t realize that their Netflix account can be vulnerable to hacking until it’s too late.
How to Use a VPN When Traveling to Protect Your Activity
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that encrypts your internet connection, hiding your IP address and location. Online security is of utmost importance these days, especially when traveling.
Do I Need Malware Protection on My Mobile Phone or Tablet?
Our mobile phones and tablets are an integral part of our daily lives. We use them for everything these days, from communication and entertainment to banking and shopping.
11 Things You Should Do if Your Data Was Exposed in a Breach
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, with high-profile companies and organizations falling victim to cyberattacks regularly. These breaches can compromise sensitive information such as personal details, financial data, and login credentials. Individuals need to understand what steps to take if their data is exposed to a breach to prevent further harm.
How Do I Prepare My Old Mobile Phone or Tablet for Recycling?
With technology constantly advancing, it’s not uncommon for people to upgrade their mobile phones and tablets every few years. Everyone loves getting a brand-new device, but what should you do with the old one when it’s time to make the switch?
Tips to Make Migrating to that New iPhone or Android Phone a Breeze
It’s exciting to upgrade your smartphone to a new model with more features, but once you’ve got the new device… how do you get your “phone life” transferred from the old device to the new one? [Read more…]
Should you love your external hard drive?
More about data backup. Because it’s important, that’s why!
I wrote about this last month…Backup, what Backup? I’m following up with one of the easiest things you can do to protect your family’s precious memories…and your boring work stuff. Start with an external hard drive…and learn how to feed and care for it too…
External hard drives free up storage, offer portability, and provide a lifeline in case of computer disaster. It pays to take good care of these compact, convenient devices.
Here are some helpful strategies.
- Don’t knock the drive.
Depending on the type of drive you have, impact could damage it. The hard drive’s mechanical guts work a little like a record player. Envision a spinning platter and a needle reading it. If you bumped into a record player back in the day, the needle would drag across the surface and possibly cause a forever “skip” in the song(s). Note, you don’t have to worry about this with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as there are no moving parts, so consider investing in those to get both reliability AND better performance.
- Don’t pull.
You can damage the drive port with a hard or sideways yank on its USB plug. Remove the device cable with a gentle pull, and NOT on the cable, but on the rubber connector on the end of the cable. It’s best to unplug the drive cable when it’s not in use. Then, when you are reconnecting the external drive, inspect the connector before plugging the cable back in. Look for any damage, debris, or corrosion to help maximize the device’s lifespan.
- Don’t skip steps.
You may be in a hurry, but always take the time to remove the hard drive from your desktop before physically unplugging it. On Windows, you’ll usually right click on the drive and press Eject. For Macs, you can drag the drive icon to the recycle bin (which changes to an eject button). Never unplug the drive while moving data to or from the hard drive unless you want to risk data corruption.
- Don’t suffocate the drive.
Ever put your hand on the hard drive after prolonged use? It’s hot. Don’t immediately store it away in a bag or tight space. Give it some time to cool off first. When it’s out, and in use, keep the drive’s vents clear of other objects so that it has some airflow. Set it on a flat, level surface. Avoid placing it on paper, towels, or other cloth items that could add to its heat levels.
- Don’t take the drive swimming.
OK, you’re probably not going to do that. Yet it’s our way of reminding you that condensation is an enemy to your hard drive. Hard drive failures can be caused by environmental factors such as temperature and air quality too.
- Don’t expect immortality or invincibility.
A hard drive isn’t going to last forever. They aren’t built for that. They can also get lost or stolen. Don’t let one external hard drive be the only place you are backing up your data.
Have a backup on your computer, on the drive, and a copy in the cloud. Then, you’ll always be ready to move on to a new drive that you will love with the same care and consideration outlined above.
If you need help deciding on the best hard drive for your needs, give us a call at (732) 747-0200.
Backup? What backup?
The look on peoples’ faces when they come to us with a computer whose hard drive has crashed, and we ask if they have a backup is heartbreaking. They often answer no and we don’t understand why more folks don’t place the importance on backing up their data that they should. My dentist says, “only brush the teeth you want to keep”. That’s the same sentiment with your data…”only backup the stuff you wanna protect”.
Why You Need to Backup
Disruptions of any kind can be costly in either real money or emotional drama. The disaster might take one of several shapes:
- Natural (e.g. wildfires, floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes)
- On-site (e.g. hardware/software failure, power outage, inability to access building)
- Employee or family member-driven (e.g. damaging mistakes or intentional sabotage by a disgruntled employee or angry teenager!)
- Cyber-attack (e.g. data breach, ransomware, or distributed denial of service attack).
Regardless, the best backup solution can help reduce downtime, damage…and drama.
Approaches to Backup
There are several off-the-shelf backup options you can use. Let’s consider the pros and cons of the most popular ones.
USB Thumb Drives — Also known as “flash drives,” “pen drives,” or “memory sticks,” these thumb-sized devices are compact and portable. But…they have size limitations compared to hard drives. Also, the mobility makes them easy to lose (which can actually set the disaster scenario in motion).
Additionally, a USB thumb drive is robust when not plugged in, but more vulnerable when attached. If someone inadvertently snaps the drive or employs too much force, they can put the data on that backup at risk.
The cheap ones also tend to be slow, which can make backing up sluggish.
USB Hard Drives — Portable hard drives increase the data storage available, often at a decent price. They are designed to be compact and mobile. You can prioritize durability, processing speed, storage volumes and more.
Hard drives are less likely to get damaged than a thumb drive. If knocked or jostled, the cables are flexible. Still, a hard drive can be prone to physical failure. Selecting an external solid slate drive (SSD) can help since it has no moving parts. Information is stored instead on microchips.
Networked Attached Storage (NAS) – This can be a great solution when 2 or more computers need to be backed up. Basically, it’s a hard drive in a box that attaches to your network router. Your wired and wifi computers can connect to it and perform a routine backup each night. These can be costly, but there’s no denying their value when protecting multiple computers is your goal.
Cloud Storage — Backing up to the cloud stores data on an external, secure server. If thieves take your computers and USB backup, you can still access your data on the cloud. Cloud storage providers build in redundancy to ensure your backup remains safe.
Most cloud storage services back up to secure centers with thousands of servers storing data. Oh, and they’ll have their own server backups too, just in case they’re the ones hit by a disaster. The providers also encrypt data during transit to further ensure compliance and security.
Migrating to a third-party cloud storage service also cuts the clutter at your premises. You can count on expert help to ensure security and compliance. Plus, you can cut operational costs by offloading in-house storage or external hard drive expenses.
OK, so what’s the best answer?
Don’t think disaster won’t strike your home or business. Research has found data loss and downtime are most often caused by:
- Hardware failures (45% of total unplanned downtime)
- Loss of power (35%)
- Software failure (34%)
- Data corruption (24%)
- External security breaches (23%)
- Accidental user error (20%).
We recommend the 3-2-1 backup strategy. This means having 3 copies of your data. Two (2) of these would be located on different devices (e.g. on your computer and on a backup drive). The other remaining backup copy (1) would be secured offsite, in the cloud.
Want to secure your data the right way and avoid the drama? Give us a call at (732) 747-0020 to set this up and put you at ease.