Irreplaceable backups

What is your computer worth in terms of information treasure, unique and irreplaceable photos, repository of your work, research and ideas, communication with peers, clients, employers, products or production data? If you couldn’t access it in the next minute, how big would be your loss? In a fast pace environment, although we all know backup should be well setup and fail-proof (shall I say fool-proof?), we mostly don’t follow through. Working in a corporation we have a luxury of leaving it to the IT guys. For small business or professionals, way too often the truth strikes before we are ready.

2012 should be called a year of cyber-security. Questions are abound:
Shall I use off network storage i.e external hard drive to backup and be tasked with manual push?
Shall I use online backup app and give up my privacy?
How do I protect my data from rootkits if anti-virus software does not see them?
How do I tell well crafted scareware popups from legitimate system alarms warning me about pending hardware failure?
Shall I fear a zero access kit possibly docked already in my hospital or utilities or air flight system, waiting for a remote signal to induce harm?
Shall I keep paper records in case backup failed?

Time to take a moment and strategize is now. Things that we don’t control shouldn’t worry us, but it helps to be aware, open minded, sustain common sense and build redundancy. It makes for better decisions.
Think of more than one way to protect your computer treasures.

Some say that having everything virtual, in the cloud, is better solution. Online documents, pay-as-you-go web-hosted applications allow you to move from place to place and work on any computer, anywhere, without a grin about securing data or hardware.
Others cannot imagine having accounting or business-sensitive data exposed to unknown individuals.

Zero Day is a cyber security thriller written by an expert in the field – Mark Russinovich. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down until finished two days later. Narration, characters, facts and fiction, all made for a fascinating series of events. Having an IT background and experience myself, it was easy to identify with several situations painted in the book. Luckily, in my career I didn’t have to live through some of the horrifying cyber terror events that Mark described. It was interesting to read who creates malware software, how it is distributed in today’s globally connected world, and how unforeseen circumstances create domino effect that strikes in far away places. If you don’t know much about cyber security, this book is both entertaining and eye opening.

Hardware failures, viruses, and other security threats strike all systems, brands, and types of devices. Having Apple instead of Windows or a smart phone instead of a laptop does not make you immune. Malware programmers follow the crowd of purchasers of the latest gadgets. They thrive in meeting the challenges to break into seemingly secure systems. Break-ins to Droid smart phones and iPhones are more common recently. Even electronic chips in the newly released cars are a target.

Between the swipe-touch apps, wireless transmission, QR and RF technology and ever new programming techniques, computer security professionals and amateurs alike are in big demand. Zero access threats make it a dangerous catch-up game. Speculations about internet self-destruction may be as far from the truth as a theory of nuclear disaster in 1950s.

For now, taking a small step to backup your data regularly sounds really good.

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