Your PC isn’t only used to play games, surf the Internet, and watch YouTube videos. You also use your home computer to store files. In some cases, those files may contain sensitive and vital information.
If an unfortunate event occurs, such as the loss or theft of your PC, you won’t struggle much to watch YouTube videos or play games on a new computer purchased to replace the other one. However, if you haven’t protected your old PC properly, then the sensitive files on the old system could be compromised.
This means that unscrupulous individuals may have access to those files, and could use them for malicious purposes, such as identity theft. How can you ensure that your home computer files are as safe as possible? Here are five ideas.
1. “Hide” the important files
Follow the same principle you do when securing valuable items in your house. Suppose, for a moment, that some thief breaks into your home while you’re away. Is he going to see your most precious diamonds and other valuables in plain sight? Of course not.
When it comes to “hiding” your important files, it’s a lot easier than many people think. Some applications, like Excel, offer the ability to password-protect documents. This means that even if someone gains access to the file, it’s unlikely that any information will be accessible because the thief won’t know the password.
2. Bypass the recycle bin
When you delete a file in Windows, you may have noticed that it’s actually not removed from the hard drive right away. Instead, it goes into the Recycle Bin. However, if you hold the Shift key down while deleting the file, then it’s all gone right away. This is a best practice for people who want to ensure that deleted files are not accessible.
3. Encrypt your files
A Trojan will grab any files that are readily available. If that happens to you, then encryption will at least give you some peace of mind because you’ll know the files that were taken are unusable.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, encryption is simply a means of “encoding” a file. It’s comparable to “secret codes” that have been used throughout the history of warfare. People on the same side of the war would send encoded messages to each other that, if intercepted by the enemy, were unintelligible.
Encryption works like that. It doesn’t guarantee that your files won’t be stolen. It just makes it a lot harder for thieves to read and process the information because they don’t have the necessary decryption key to view them in their proper format.
4. Keep sensitive files offsite
It’s this simple: people can’t steal files that aren’t there. If someone does manage to nab your laptop when you’re not looking, wouldn’t it be really great if the thief couldn’t view any of your sensitive files because they weren’t actually stored on your laptop?
One great option for keeping your files off your home PC is to subscribe to a cloud service. There are numerous cloud offerings that provide maximum security, not only because they have insurmountable firewalls, but because they keep your sensitive data out of your PC and out of reach from easy theft.
5. Small business options
If you’re running a small business, you simply can’t afford data loss. Every year, unrecoverable data loss results in millions of dollars in lost revenue, not to mention the loss of goodwill when normal operations grind to a halt because of lost data. To overcome that, you’ll need to ensure you have a proper data backup plan.
A good backup solution will provide regular and consistent backup of your company’s vital data. It will also be handled by a data backup company with an outstanding reputation for providing excellent customer service. Finally, the data will be backed up to a secure location, separate from your own facility.