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There are dozens of things that you can do to protect your computer. People sell so many software packages and information products you may not be able to get a handle on all of it. Have you surprised to yourself what the basics are so that you can protect your identity and your data and so that you no longer have to worry?
I am not sure if we will ever get to a point that a computer security solution is perfect and we never have to worry but we can get to a point of an increased security posture. That just means that we can take a few steps to help protect ourselves against the not so nice people in the world.
- First if you have a computer you should turn on a local firewall.
You may say, I am working behind one of those routers you can purchase from the electronics store, I am safe. There is a term in the field that is called defense in depth. There are many takes on what this actually means and how to implement it but I will be the first to tell you every extra security precaution you can take will be helpful in the effort to protect your identity and your data.
Each layer of defense will add to your protection. You may have a router but go ahead and turn on that software firewall that comes with your operating system too. Learn more about your computer so that you can be proactive. You never know when you might travel with that laptop and your software firewall saves you from an intrusion. Just be cautious. Most people lock their doors at night before they go to bed or when they leave for work in the morning. Do not forget to lock the doors on your computer.
- Second, you may consider installing a well-established anti-virus product.
There are many packages on the market. Some you can get for free and others you can pay for. You need to determine your level of knowledge and how much support you may require.
There are many anti-virus vendors that are free that have been certified and protect your systems just as well as the pay for kind. The main difference is that you may get better support from the pay for kind. You may end up supporting the free kind on your own and having to do research on the net for answers. This is truly your call and should be congruent to your level of computer knowledge.
Anti-virus software should be a must. It has saved my system many times as well as friends of mine. I had a buddy that downloaded pictures form a digital camera that was infected with a virus. They can be anywhere. This is just another layer of defense you should consider in your quest to protect your identity and your data.
- Third, you should consider backing up your system regularly.
I am not talking about once a year either. I am talking about using CD, DVD, or an external hard drive and backing up your data daily, weekly, or at least monthly. This may not necessarily be a defense but it is a proactive measure that could save you tons of money and time.
I have known several people who have inadvertently gotten a virus on their computer lost tons of data and information such as pictures and music which were priceless and irreplaceable. They were able to save their data because they backed it up regularly. They may have lost a few days worth of data but they retrieved most of it back. They were quickly able to perform a desktop restore and get 90% of their data back.
Now, one consideration is that if your data changes regularly you may want to consider backing up your data on a more frequent basis. The reason for this is if you have to perform a system restore or a file restore you want to be able to retrieve the most current data possible. Anyone out there can do this. There is backup software all over the web and 9 times out of 10 your computer probably has backup software built in that you can use for free.
The bottom line is that you should take measures to protect your data the same way you would protect your house or car. We too many times implement this on the physical world but forget to do the same for the digital world. There is a ton of information available for you to improve your knowledge and understanding of computer systems and how to protect your data and your identity. Do not become a statistic. Protect your data today.