Protecting Your Digital Life

Protecting Your Digital Life

Protecting Your Digital Life

Backing up your important documents is something you should do regularly. But you should also do the same for your digital life. Your files are never completely safe and secure on your computer because there are many unforeseeable problems that can happen, such as hard drive failure, virus attacks, theft, or damage from a flood or fire.

Photographs of your family or travelling adventures, important camcorder footage, and your music collection all make up your entire digital life. By simply backing up your files, your digital life will stay protected. It’s important to remember to backup your files regularly, regardless of how you do it. There are reliable methods you can use to store your files safely and securely.

External drives that range in capacity from 250 gigabytes to 2 terabytes are good to use if you have a lot of large files, such as high-definition camcorder footage or all those priceless family pictures on your digital camera. Connect your hard drive to the USB port on your computer or laptop, and drag and drop your files over to your hard drive. Remember to keep your hard drive separate from your computer in a safe, dry place.

Try to purchase an external drive that automatically backs up your files on a set day and time every week. That way, you know that your files are backed up frequently.

Another great way to protect your digital life is backing up your files onto recordable discs that can store up to 4.7 gigabytes of data for a single-layer DVD or 8.5 gigabytes for a dual-layer.  The latest computers already have a DVD burner built-in, making it easy to transfer files onto a disc or DVD. To prevent damage and scratches, keep your discs in a case or spindle and it is recommended to keep these offsite in a secure location.

Small USB thumb-drives can also be used to backup your digital life. If you have a lot of files, purchase one that is the maximum capacity of at least  gigabytes. You can take your USB thumb-drive everywhere with you and it fits easily into your USB port on your computer. Note that there is a reason that some USB drives cost more than others as some are faster.

Online backup services keep your files away from your computer on a password-protected website. In the event of a fire or flood, your digital life is stored securely. Plus, you can access your files anywhere; all you need is an Internet-connected device usually with just a web browser. Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive is a free online backup service that offers 25 gigabytes of free storage. Other great sites such as and both offer 2 gigabytes for free and have great software you can install which can do automatic scheduled backups.

Going Paperless: Scan to PDF

Going Paperless: Scan to PDF

Going paperless

Scan to PDF

Going paperless is not only environmentally friendly, but also has many added benefits. It is a good way to help de-clutter your life and organize information for greater accessibility. Setting up a quick ‘Scan to PDF’ function on a scanner, along with ‘Print to PDF’ on your computer will help immensely.

Many of the new scanners on the market are now supporting ‘Scan to PDF’ buttons right on the console. Recently, I acquired an HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless, which has saved me plenty of time. You can use it as a fax machine, copier, and printer. However, the main reason I purchased it was for the scanning capabilities. This device can be installed in minutes on your home or office network and allows you to easily place a stack of papers (due to the multi-page sheet feeder), press a button, and instantly have all those papers emailed or saved as a PDF. Fantastic!

If you install a free program, such as CutePDF or doPDF you can view an email, website, or a document and ‘print’ it to a PDF file.

The next step is to rename the generic PDF files you are creating to something meaningful so that you can easily find it when needed.

Using a variety of free remote desktop services and programs, such as LogMeIn allows you to easily access documents that you need remotely. This can be very powerful for many people and it helps reduce the amount of paper stacks in your home or office.

Of course, you need to ensure that you properly secure these files and remember to backup, backup, backup.

Certainly, there are many documents in our world which still need to be kept; however, these tips can help make you more efficient by saving you time and space. Plus, it’s easier to share information with your contacts.

Top IT Jobs for 2010

Top IT Jobs for 2010

Looking over this list, it isn’t surprising to see the following as the top IT jobs for 2010.

  • Information Systems Auditor
  • Computer Forensics
  • Database Administrator
  • Software Engineers
  • Network Administrators
  • IT Security Manager
  • Virtualization Engineers
  • Project Manager
  • Voice Specialists


Top IT Job 2010

Things You Should Do To Protect Against Identity Theft

Things You Should Do To Protect Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is considered to be one of the fastest growing crimes. Here are some things you should do to help protect yourself.

  • Check your mail often
  • Don’t just throw it out, it could contain personal information
  • Shred, shred, shred (bills, receipts, statements…)
  • Protect your social insurance number
  • Limit what you carry in your wallet and keep a list
  • Log off / lock your computer
  • Lock your home at all times
  • Keep sensitive documents safe
  • Double check yur bills and statements
  • Check credit report regularly
  • Limit number of credit cards
  • Use a credit card with a small limit for online purchases
Identity Theft

Identity Theft

What else do you suggest?

Do You Own a Laptop? Treat it like your wallet!

Do You Own a Laptop? Treat it like your wallet!
  • Most thefts occur from cars. Many people just want to quickly go in to a store on their way from work. Hiding the laptop from sight doesn’t provide much safety, especially if you place it in the trunk upon arriving which gives the thief visual confirmation of the prize.
  • If your laptop bag is too heavy to carry with you, get a lighter one. There are many different styles available now, many are padded and comfortable to wear on your back like a backpack or shoulder strap. I have seen that Best Buy tends to carry a large selection.
  • Encrypt your files or entire laptop hard drive. Stolen laptops are typically destined for a quick resale which means that your unencrypted files could end up anywhere.
  • Regular backups will help ensure quicker recovery.
  • Treat your laptop as you would your own wallet.
Stolen laptop

Laptop Security

Permanent Digital Footprints and Private Data

Permanent Digital Footprints and Private Data

Digital Fingers
I am always surprised at how trusting people are with confidential and “private” data. They send attachments by email, they chat and post updates/pictures through their facebook/blogs/twitter accounts. And yet people are shocked when they hear about identity theft. You are shocked when someone knows your name, birthday, what you look like, what your kids look like, and how much your last raise was at work along with the particulars of the big deal you just closed.

It is very simple actually. We are all leaving a “digital footprint” in everything we do online and on our computers. Just because you delete something doesn’t mean it is gone. I was on the news a few years ago doing an “experiment”. We took 4 computers from the eco depot and I was able to recover data from every one of them including a copy of someone’s will, list of their stocks/jewellery and combination to their safe. This computer had already been “recycled” twice since the original owner gave it away.

While discussing network security with a good colleague of mine, he pointed me to yet another interesting site, – go ahead and search your name, you may be in for a surprise on what this digs up about you. Sure enough there are even some newsgroup postings I had made back in the 90s that are showing up along with different projects I have been involved with. Quite enlightening. And there is no way for me to “delete” them, they are out there, probably many copies of the information being archived on different servers.

But I digress…

The reason for this this update was to remind and/or increase awareness of something called the US Patriot Act. Why should you care? This is a topic I think about often and bring up when conducting audits of individual and corporate networks. Any data that is routed through the US opens the possibility that it can be intercepted by US authorities. No longer do they require a warrant but now can do it quite simply with something similar to an administrative subpoena called a national security letter. Along with this goes a gag order such that the custodian of the information/data that is being examined/requested is not allowed to tell anyone that this demand has been made.

Many people use Facebook/Twitter which have data that reside on US based servers. How about where your website is located? Does your website have a private database, do you maintain information about your clients? How about something as simple as gmail/yahoo/hotmail/msn/googledocs/etc Did you know that everything could have already been examined without your knowledge?

Perhaps this is not a big deal for individuals but it is certainly very serious for organizations.

Many clients don’t even know where their data is being stored! We also find that many companies that provide website and email hosting, or even IT support services, make use of reselling other services offered online typically from these very large hosting providers (typically located in the US). Offsite backups, email accounts, databases, etc all could be stored on a US based server without your knowledge and you thought you were dealing with a local company.

The US Patriot Act was passed by US Congress following the 911 terrorist attacks. Canada also enacted a legislative response called the Anti-terroism Act.

I would caution you to educate yourselves regarding where is your data stored and transmitted, are there privacy concerns that should be investigated and addressed, and ensure you aren’t violating any laws (such as the privacy act).