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Protect and Defend Your Laptop

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith
Life is full of things we should do. We should eat healthy. We should exercise. We should take vitamins. Oh, and in the modern world we should backup and secure our computer.  Think about the files, the photos, the documents, the emails and everything else that you have on your PC. More importantly, think what you would do if you lost it all. If the hard drive failed – would you miss those files? Worse yet, if your laptop went missing, lost or stolen, would you have to worry about the passwords or financial data that resides on the laptop?
Every computer owner knows what they should do – but backing up and securing your data does not seem easy.  But the good news is that today there are a growing number of simple and affordable solutions. Let’s first take a look at how you can backup your data over the Internet – even while you are sleeping.
There are a growing number of services that provide backup services. The big players, Mozy and Carbonite among them are US based, but there are a growing number of New Zealand based options such as Data Lock. While the approach varies slightly by vendor, the basics are:
  • You setup an account with one of these online services – most have 30 day trials and prices are as lows as $5 a month.
  • You download and install software which includes selecting what files to backup and scheduling your backup job – daily or weekly
  • At the appointed time, your computer connects over the Internet and securely transfers a copy of all your files to a secure web site. In case you are not connected to the Internet at the appointed time – the software will keep trying at specified intervals.
So now, if the unfortunate happens – your hard drive fails or the computer is lost – you can setup the same software on your new or repaired computer and restore all your valuable data.
But let us also consider that when you computer is lost or stolen; somebody could have access to your data. Perhaps you have passwords saved in your browser? Perhaps you have financial data on the laptop? Perhaps there are emails or documents you don’t wont others reading. One of the key reasons why I encourage folks to encrypt their laptop is that no matter how careful you think you are - your laptop has data.  
Similar to the online backup process, you can bypass the required cost and expertise involved in setting up complicated software by using an online service. This is a newer approach so you have fewer vendors, though I expect more in the coming months. Alertsec is the leading provider and although they are not NZ based, they do operate support on a 24x7 basis out of the UK. The process is simple - register your subscription or 30-day free trial; download and activate the Alertsec Xpress software and now your computer is now fully protected. Unlike with the backup – no ongoing Internet communication is required. With you files encrypted – no average crook will get access to your data
Now you have to consider the costs of the backup and the encryption and weigh them against the risks and likelihood of failure, loss or theft. It’s just like any form of insurance – you make that personal decision as to how much risk you want to take – but just consider how much of your life exists digitally on your computer.


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