Backing up and protecting your data – the basics

I was asked at a networking meeting recently for recommendations on best practice for backing up a laptop. It was in the context of an individual who has sensitive data on their laptop, and what follows were my recommendations. It’s worth noting that these recommendations apply as much to SMEs as they do to an individual.

  1. We recommend a belt and brace approach. A local backup and a cloud backup. This applies to single-PC/laptop users and companies with servers and networks alike. Local backups protect you from internet accessibility failures (they do happen!) and cloud backup protects you from local failures, and is also an invaluable defence against Ransomware.
  2. Cloud storage is NOT Cloud backup. A professional cloud backup system has end-to-end encryption and provides for a complete system restore. Files in Cloud storage are fully susceptible to ransomware. Find out more here:
  3. Anyone who has access to company systems -whether an employee or not, whether local or remote – should be subject to the same IT and security policies as locally-based employees. If you don’t have any IT policies in place, strongly recommend that you do so.
  4. Anti-virus and anti-spam software should be professional, ie paid, versions
  5. Mobile devices carrying personal data – client, employee, supplier etc – are a GDPR risk and need to fall under the company IT policy umbrella
  6. Encrypt the hard drives on your laptops

Hoping this provides some useful guidance!

What if I told you the biggest risk to your business succumbing to online crime is you and your staff?

Yes, you and your staff are the biggest risk to your business. This is an actual case study of a cyber-crime that we dealt with in 2018.

The Start

A local company in Yorkshire (previously unknown to us) approached us, asking us to come and take a look at one of their computers, they had been hacked.

On investigating it was apparent that they hadn’t just been hacked; in-fact they had lost a six-figure sum. It was an existential threat to their business.

We have standard protocols for dealing with cyber attacks, and in this case we immediately:

  • Quarantined the computer in question
  • Conducted a full security sweep of their systems followed by password changes

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VPNs Blocked In China, Banned In Russia

russiaGlobal Internet freedom has experienced some setbacks recently as Apple pulled VPNs from its Chinese App Store, and Russia has banned VPNs completely.

What Are VPNs?

VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’ and a VPN allows a user to connect to the internet via a server run by a VPN provider. This means that all data traveling between the user’s computer, phone or tablet, and the VPN server is securely encrypted.

Russia and China Dissent

More than a year ago, the UN ruled that the rights people have offline must also be protected online. Although the resolution was not binding, there were notable dissenters that included Russia and China.

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Kaspersky Rolls Out Free Antivirus Software Worldwide

Kaspersky Anti VirusAntivirus software company Kaspersky is starting a free global rollout of the bare essentials of its famous antivirus software.

Free Basic Protection

Kaspersky wants to offer basic protection like file, email, and web protection, quarantine function, and automatic updates, to web users who can’t afford to buy premium protection. Despite the risks of cyber attack, many users are deterred by the high prices of some leading antivirus software and turn to relying on Windows Defender or downloading and installing freebies that are not necessarily secure.

A free version therefore provides an effective alternative to both.

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Google Stopping Instant Search

Google Instant SearchWith the huge rise in the use of mobile devices, and to promote design consistency across platforms, Google has dropped its Instant Search feature for desktops.

What Is Instant Search

Introduced in 2010, Google Instant Search offers pre-emptive, dynamically generated search results as you type, and was, at first, a revolutionary experience, as desktop users were given possible search results based on their history, thus simplifying and speeding up the act of searching. Google estimated that collectively, millions of seconds per hour could be saved by suggesting search results.

Fast Forward

Fast forward 7 years and studies have now shown that Internet search via mobile has grown so much that Google Instant Search on desktops is being left behind. In 2015 alone, Google recorded that more than half of Google searches happened on mobile, and Instant Search can’t be used as easily or effectively on a mobile device as it can on a desktop.

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