Stupid Simple Security Tip #17 – Last Line of Defense
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Michael Gerard Tyson
Iron Mike is rarely credited as a deep thinker and is certainly no IT expert, but his message should hit hard with anyone who believes they’ve accounted for every dire contingency. Spoiler alert: you haven’t.
We’ve already examined several ways to optimize your protection online and off: safeguarding accounts, updating software, browsing smarter, using private networks, and encrypting data…but sometimes you slip, or chaos finds a way to win.
So what happens when all else fails?
Fear not. There’s one more step that will cover your ass and soothe your psyche in case the worst-case scenario plays out – data backups.
Most of us have suffered a data loss at some point, so we know how much it sucks!
Whether victimized by hackers, thieves, human error, or hardware/software meltdown, it’s a sickening feeling to realize you’ve lost client files, precious memories, or the brief you spent all night writing.
However, if your data is reliably backed up, such catastrophes become mere inconvenience…and that process has never been easier.
Some choose to backup files locally using external hard drives and programs like Time Machine, but this is NOT recommended as a sole solution: hard drives have limited space, sporadic connectivity, and are just as susceptible to theft/fire/failure as your laptop.
If you want to keep an extra copy of critical files on an encrypted drive near-at-hand, fine – but always have another backup off-site.
Your best bet is one of the numerous affordable cloud-based services available to automatically backup your files; they run in the background whenever you’re online, uploading to limitless servers and cataloging several recent versions of your data in case of accidental deletion/overwriting.
Personally, I use Backblaze.
You don’t need to back up everything on your computer – operating systems, system files, and software can all be replaced – prioritize your client/firm files, your email/calendars/contacts, and then other files that are uniquely yours (photos, music, etc.).
Think of it as an insurance policy – maybe you can’t stop someone from hitting your car, lightning from striking your house, or your appendix from bursting, but a simple plan and minimal expenditure make life easier afterward. Backing up files does the same for whatever disaster may befall your data.
The response if/when it happens should be stoic:
“Well, that’s annoying, but I know I have a backup and haven’t lost anything.”
“OMG, what do I do?!!!”
It’s always good to have peace of mind if you happen to get punched in the mouth. 🥊😉