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Without a doubt, the most valuable thing on your business computer or network is the data you create, use and store. Let’s face it, data is the only reason to even have a computer. So, if all this data is so important, your highest priority should be protecting it. Hardware can be replaced, operating systems and programs can be reinstalled but your unique data can never be replaced if you have not properly protected it.

Protection of your data comes in several different forms. Some data is also confidential so you don’t want to lose it or let others see it. Some data may not be confidential but it travels with you outside the office. Some data changes often, while other data only changes periodically. For these reasons, there are a variety of methods to protect your computer files. None are necessarily right or wrong but some will provide better protection for your specific situation than others.

Let’s look at some ways to protect your all-important user data from loss and/or unauthorized access.

#1: Back Up Your Data Early, Back Up Your Data Often

The first layer of protection you need is a solid backup. This can and will save your data from corruption, loss and hardware failure. The next question to ask yourself is how often should you back up? This can be answered by asking yourself two more questions – how often does the data change, and how far back can I recreate the data? Your answer of hours, days or weeks, will tell you what you need to know.

There are also numerous third-party backup programs that can offer sophisticated options, including backup to an external hard drive and/or the cloud. Whichever method you chose, be sure you are getting a copy of your data outside your physical office. A backup of your data will do you no good if it is sitting on your desk when a fire happens or a tornado whips through. Also, don’t your backup is secure if it is sitting in a fire-proof safe. Most fire-proof safes are not heat proof.

#2: Password Protect Your Computer Files

Many business applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat will allow you to password protect specific documents. These passwords can be set to allow other users to open the file and/or to make changes to it.
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s password protection is not the strongest method of protection but it is a start and is easy to implement. If you like this layer of security, there are third-party programs available that do a better job of password protection.

#3: Encrypt Your Whole Computer Hard Drive

If you are a person that takes your data with you on your laptop, tablet or external drive, the use of whole disk encryption may be the right choice for you. Whole disk encryption encrypts and denies access to the entire disk, as opposed to specific files and/or folders. As you write and/or save new data to the drive, it is automatically encrypted so no further user intervention is required. This won’t help you if your hard drive fails, but it will prevent anyone from accessing the data on the drive if your computer or drive is lost or stolen.

#4: Create a Private Drive on Your Network

When you are in your office, you have documents that coworkers don’t need to see or you don’t want them to see. By creating a virtual “private drive” on the server that only you can access, you will have a secure place to store all your documents, and they will be backed up on a regular basis by your server’s backup system. This system enables you to store your documents in a secure place, restrict access from others and allow the documents to be backed up for easy retrieval in the event of a disaster.

As you can see, the options for backing up your all-too-critical data are varied and worth spending some time assessing for your unique needs. But once you do this, you will be able to rest easy knowing you are prepared.

KLH – Minneapolis IT Managed Services Provider

Cloud ServicesServer & Network MaintenanceBackup and RecoveryNetwork Security

Scott Johnson COO, KLH  651-328-6121