Rebecca Herold
The Privacy
Tip of the Month 
Whoa there - back up!
So your passwords are complex, your settings are secure, and your firewalls are solid. But in how many locations are your valuable documents, precious photos and videos stored? If you say everything is either on your hard drive, stored on CDs/DVDs or programmed into your mobile device - but not all three - you're probably in the majority.
But in this case, the majority does NOT win.

It happens every day - computers fail, storage media is damaged, cell phones get lost and natural disasters happen. Unless you have a solid back-up plan in place now (and are actually using it), you will likely lose important documents, photos, data or contact information at some point. And that can be devastating to you professionally as well as personally.

I'm not going to preach at you about backing up your material (you probably already know that!), but I am going to show what can happen when you don't do it judiciously... and tell you about some simple ways to protect what matters to you.
A few interesting facts, courtesy of Techworld:

According to a recent Online Banking Report, 44 million households pay at least some bills online, and that will jump by almost 30% over the next two years.


The National Health Interview Survey reports that 25% of U.S. households only use cell phones. Almost 15% still have a landline, but don't use it.


A Harris Interactive survey concluded that adults spend an average of 13 hours per week online. Neilsen reports that almost 23% of that time - a staggering 906 million hours - is spent on social networks or blogs.


If people who depend on online bill paying, mobile communications or online photo/video storage sites don't back up their data, they can find themselves in serious trouble if they encounter technical issues.

For example...
A couple of years ago I was at a cell phone store. In front of me in line was a man who asked the clerk to have a backup of his cell phone contact list made. She asked if he wanted it on a separate backup, or if he wanted his existing backup overwritten. He said, "Just overwrite the one I have; it'll save a few bucks." She came back out a few minutes later and handed his phone to him. He looked at it, a frown creeping over his face, and said, "My phone is empty!" She said, "That's odd. Let me take it back and restore it from your backup. See, that's why it's so important to back up your phone data!"
She returned several minutes later, looking sheepish. "Sir, I'm so sorry. It looks like that instead of doing a back up, a reformat was done accidentally. I don't have any data to put back onto your phone." He was livid! "I had the information for 1,200 clients on that phone!  My job depends upon that!" He started yelling and threatening so loudly that security guards intervened. I've never heard someone yell so much at a store clerk!  It turns out that he was a sales representative and he just lost all the information he had about his clients. Lesson: Make more than one backup, stored in separate locations, for data that is so valuable that you could lose your livelihood without it, or that you would be devastated to lose, such as family photos and videos.



Don't let your precious memories - or critical professional materials! - get blown away, burned, drowned or erased.

  Back up your emails, photos, videos, tax documents and contacts to multiple locations.
  Get a surge-protecting power strip - lightening can wipe out data AND software literally in a flash.
  Using cloud computing (an Internet-hosted service) is handy, but can also be risky. Be sure to research any such company thoroughly before depending on one to store your data.
 For sensitive/confidential materials, back up to external drives, DVDs and/or USB thumb drives that you keep securely under your complete control.
  For most people, making email backups once a week is sufficient and needed.
  Backing up photos and videos depends on how often you create them; generally the more often you do, the more often you should back up - immediately after you create the files. 
And, a couple of bonus tips this month...
When you make a comment on someone's Facebook wall, then delete it, it does not mean that it is completely gone. Settings for most people's accounts automatically send an email containing the comment, so they will know what you said! Through a thread on which I was included, I had two people I didn't even know (friends of one of my friends) put comments on my wall, and I first saw what they said in email messages delivered to my inbox. They deleted the comments soon after posting them, but I had already seen them due to Facebook's email message protocols.
Similarly, if someone includes you in a group Facebook message and you reply to your sender, everyone on the list that received the message will see your response - even if you couldn't see to whom the message was originally sent. Chances are, you don't know everyone on that list... do you really want them to see your message? To be safe, instead of replying to that message, start a new message sent directly to the person to whom you're responding if it appears a message may have been sent to more than just you.
Did you know... 

For the latest in the world of information security and privacy, you can listen to my hour-long interview on the Tech Innovation Radio Show by clicking here. Thanks for listening... and for reading!

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Rebecca Herold & Associates, LLC
Mobile: 515.491.1564, Business: 515.996.2199