Monday Challenge: How safe is your digital stuff?

The Monday Challenge is often about spurring readers to do something that takes little effort but with long term benefits.

This week: assess the safety of your digital stuff.

You can do this in easily by answering one question: can you take your laptop and throw it in a lake, never to see it again, and be okay with that (other than the fact you just lost your laptop)? If you can answer “yes” then no need to read further. 

Two simple things.

Today you need to have EVERYTHING backed up to a secure cloud based platform. I use Dropbox, I know many people that use Google Drive, iCloud (which I find cumbersome, even as a Mac user), Box, or any of the other file storage platforms out there. The $99 a year you might spend to get enough storage space is the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy.

Then be sure to use a password protection software such as 1Password. Make sure you have no duplicate passwords, and nothing too simple or easy to figure out. The days of keeping a list of passwords on a spreadsheet are long, long, long gone.

If you’re reading this and haven’t done these two things, and are quietly saying to yourself “yeah, yeah, yeah, I know … I’ll get to it later” then read on.

Just yesterday I got a phone call from somebody close to me. Her computer is now infected with randsomware, and was being held hostage until she pays $400 (this sort of thing is happening more and more to individuals and small businesses). I suggested she just wipe the whole thing clean and start over (a good idea for anybody every five years or so). No can do … no digital backups of anything are available. She thinks she has Dropbox but doesn’t know if she’s used it. And passwords? She uses basically the same one or two for everything, from Netflix to banking. Needless to say, she didn’t sleep well last night.