As you may have read, I just went back to work just about a month ago. I'm back in the midst of the crazy world of IT. And one of the first things that I had to deal with when I got here were a couple of computers infected with malware. One of them was easily salvaged. The other was a bit more work. The right combo of malware can lead to disaster. As all IT professionals should know, disasters and problems are not exactly rare. There are so many potential failures and things that can go pretty badly wrong if you’re not careful. And when a big IT disaster does strike you, being prepared for it could be the thing that saves you. If you are not currently prepared for everything the nasty computer world might throw at you, now’s the time to change that.
Know the Dangers
Knowing what's out there to hurt your computer or network can make a huge different in whether or not you get hacked, or your computer gets infected with malware. If you run a business or you work from home, you will probably have a comprehensive IT setup that you rely on each day to get your work done. How secure is this, though? Do you have protection against potential fraud, information theft, or hacks? These are all things you need to think about. Viruses also present a real danger. Get to know the ins and outs of different viruses and how they can be used by criminals to steal vital information or money from you. Ransomware is a new example. It locks your system unless you pay money to the criminals by a certain time. This recently happened to someone that I know! When you know all about the danger, you can put a disaster recovery plan in place.
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!!!
Any important or sensitive information or data that your business stores should be backed up properly. If it’s not, then when something goes wrong and it turns out that the data will be irretrievable, you will be left with nothing to fall back on. On the other hand, if you back everything up in the cloud, you will be able to access it even if your hard drives get completely destroyed. That’s why off-site cloud storage is probably the best option for your backup needs. Look into it in more detail and consider whether it will be the solution for you. You know I'm a huge proponent of the Cloud. I use Google Drive to keep a copy of just about everything. But, if you should also backup your information locally. As you know, my favorite is the Western Digital My Cloud line of drives.
Encrypt When Necessary
Encryption is another thing that could save you. When you are transferring files or data from one place to another, they become more vulnerable. Some companies require that all data that employees transmit via email is encrypted. This makes it a bit harder to get out there, but it's necessary when sending sensitive financial information. If not encrypted it's possible for criminals to access your communications and intercept whatever you’re sending. If there is a financial incentive for them to do this, they might just give it a try. To make sure that they can’t do anything with your communications even if they get access to them, you will need to use encryption. It makes the contents of your communications impossible to view for third parties.
Don’t Assume It Won’t Happen to You
Finally, you should make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of assuming that one of these problems will never happen to you. It’s easy and comforting to tell yourself that these things only happen very rarely and that they only happen to other people. But they happen to people each day. And there is no reason why you won’t be the next person to fall victim to some kind of IT disaster. That’s not what you want, so be careful and be prepared.
Keep your virus software up-to-date, install malware protection and check for it often, backup your data, and be careful sending personal and financial information.