10 Tips for Keeping Your Data Safe

Take a moment and ponder this thought. How important is your saved data? If the drive your data is saved to suddenly became corrupt or damaged and you couldn’t access your files, what would you do? If you’re like most people, you’re unconsciously tugging at your neckline or swallowing hard because just the thought of losing your stored data brings butterflies to your stomach. (For Data Recovery information, click here.)

Encrypted Flash Drive. Locked out of Encrypted Flash Drives, Headaches Ensue.

It’s within your power to safeguard all your data.  In ten simple tips, here is how:

1: Make backups of important files.

The best ways to backup important files is to write them to a brand new USB flash drive that is only used for backup purposes. Store the flash drives in a safe place, such as a weatherproof steel storage container.

2: Organize your data so you can quickly backup what’s important.

You never know when a device may show warning signs of corruption. By keeping your data organized, you can quickly and easily backup your most important files at the first sign of trouble. Spend the extra time, and money on high speed highly rated storage drives.

3: Research data transfer speeds for your storage device(s); it saves time & allows for faster backups.

Newer storage devices are made with faster data transfer speeds. These devices aren’t getting quicker solely to satisfy our need for speed in a fast-paced world. The faster the data transfers, the less likely there is to be a mishap or corruption.

4: Email yourself backup versions of important documents you just finished creating.

Most of the documents you create are likely less than 25mbs, which is the usual maximum file attachment size permitted via email. It’s unlikely that the Internet or your server-side inbox is going to crash! Take advantage of this dependability. Once you complete a document (or set of documents), attach them in an email and send it to yourself. This is an especially useful technique when you’re dealing with critical files you cannot afford to lose.

Pro Tip: Depending on how confidential the files are, you can also CC them to a partner or assistant for some extra safekeeping. Just remember to eyeball how much space is being used on your email account and downsize as needed.

5: Integrate backup power sources in case of bad weather or unforeseen natural occurrences.

Just because Mother Nature decides to have a bad day, doesn’t mean you need to have one too. In the random event of a power outage or surge, protect your data by using a UPS, or uninterrupted power supply. A UPS will continue generating power so any in-progress file transfers can be completed or a quick backup can be performed.

6: When you plug in your external storage device, such as USB drives or MicroSD cards, be sure they’re not prone to being accidentally kicked or bent.

Many office desks are designed for a computer tower to reside on the floor near legs and feet or behind a door. Make sure the plug-in point for your external device is far enough away that you won’t accidentally kick or nudge the device by something as simple as swiveling your chair. If the tower is behind a closed door, ensure the door is open and secure when using a device. A heavy desk door suddenly slamming shut can irrevocably damage both the device and port. So many times people drop or move laptops with USB drives plugged into the port, avoid this and be very careful, many are bent and damaged and no longer recognized!

7: Use software protection and anti-malware to scan for and remove untrusted software.

We transfer files across devices so often that it’s easy to pick up an unwanted traveler. A virus or malware can wreak havoc on any device and jeopardize your data. Regularly scan all devices for and remove untrusted software to prevent attacks.

8: Don’t place untrusted files onto portable storage drives, such as USBs and external hard drives or SSD drives, this could spread infection.

When in doubt, don’t move it about. It’s a good rule of thumb to live by if you want to keep your data safe. Untrusted files can damage devices and make data recovery tricky. If you’re ever unsure of a file, don’t move it onto any portable storage drive.

9: Store data within systems that allow password protection to prevent theft or attacks.

You never know when something as innocent as inadvertently dropping a USB drive could land it in the hands of someone who decides to snoop. Password protection will keep your data safe and discourage theft and unwanted attacks.

10: Wipe drives using advanced algorithms such as Dod 5220-22.

This is especially important when it comes to sensitive files. The Dod 5220-22 algorithm is a data sanitization method. It will effectively prevent all software-based file recovery methods from lifting information from the drive. It will also prevent most – if not all – hardware-based recovery methods; thus ensuring your data is kept safe and for only the eyes that you choose.

Implementing these tips can save your most precious files when the unexpected transpires. Remember, preparation and organization are key to keeping your data safe.