With this list, I set out to inform you of the steps you can take to secure your systems and data. Once you look through, I think you'll be struck by how little effort is required to make your data more secure.
Backups- Backing up your data to an external disc or other medium is a basic backup method that provides you a copy of your data. Using either a hard drive, CD, DVD, Tape or DLT along with backup software will allow you to retrieve data in the event of systems failure or accidental deletion. Be sure to store your backups in a cool, secure location to increase the lifespan of your backups.
Off site Backups- I recommend performing off site backups in addition to your on site backups. Off site backups allow you to backup your crucial data at an offside location. This provides additional protection in the event of damage to the location of your systems and backups.
For basic home or small office backups DropBox Offers free and low priced automated backups.
For Business backups, including database and application data, I recommend using onlinebackupvault. Use coupon code "OBVOOLF" for a 5% discount on their services.
Anti Virus - I recommend that All Microsoft Operating Systems (Windows) be protected with an Anti-Virus platform. Be sure to keep the anti-virus signature files up to date, and schedule regular full system scans.
Anti Spyware - In addition to Anti-Virus package, I recommend downloading Microsoft Defender, free on the Microsoft Website. Defender will schedule update and scans in its default setup. I usually complement it with occasional scans using Adaware or Spybot Search and Destroy
Network Firewalls - Most consumer routers (wired and wireless) are equipped with a firewall. A firewall allows you to allow and disallow different types of data from entering or leaving your network. By default, most firewalls will allow no traffic into your network, while allowing all traffic out of your network. By limiting the types of traffic allowed out of your network, you are proving additional protection to your data and systems. If for example your machine was infected with a virus or spyware and an open connection out to the internet, the virus could travel freely out to other computers on the internet.
This could lead to your IP address being "Blacklisted" for services like outbound email.
System Firewalls - Many operating systems (MAC, Windows XP and VIsta) offer a software firewall included in the operating system. Enable these to provide additional security to your system.
Passwords- Be sure to set up passwords on your accounts and resources. Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numerals and special characters to strengthen the password.
Be sure to use a non-administrative account for daily computer use.
RAID- Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks are often used in business systems and protect against disk failure. By combining multiple disks in an Array with fault tolerance (For example Raid 1 or 5), you reduce the risk of losing your data with a single hard drive loss. As hard drives have gone down in price, RAID is now more accessible for personal and small business use. Whereas backups are generally a snapshot in time, RAID is a real time copy of your data.
Wireless Security- If you have any important data on your wireless network, be sure to implement wireless encryption on your router and computers. You can help prevent accidental use of your network by hiding the SSID and setting up MAC address restrictions.
UPDATE! - Be sure to keep your operating system, applications and Anti-Virus updated. New viruses and vulnerabilities are released daily. By keeping current, you reduce your risk of being exploited.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. Have a security tip to share? please comment on the blog.