Backing up your systems and data files is smart for the same reason it’s good to have an extra key to your car. And the house. That’s why we want to recommend this next hack for safer cyber citizenship.
Hack #7: Double Up
What’s better than taking steps to protect your data and online devices? Doubling your efforts. IT professionals have always known that two is better than one. We call it “redundancy.” That’s why we want to recommend this 'double up' hack as yet another step toward safer cyber citizenship.
Not so many years ago, back-ups were created on tapes daily or weekly and stored not far from the computer. After all, the biggest fear was that the computer might suffer a glitch or you might delete a document you would then need to retrieve. Eventually, we wised up and realized that offsite storage made more sense because there were greater dangers. Say, a break-in. Or a natural disaster of some kind.
My, how times have changed. Today, we have a lot more to fear, although theft and disasters are still on the list for both individuals and businesses. But, thanks to technology advancements, tapes are gone and cloud-based backups are easy and affordable for all cyber citizens.
The applications and other tools you use for backing up are designed to have your back when it comes to fighting off phishing, hacking, malware and ransomware infections. Yet, many people don’t use these services, which is exactly why ransomware works so well.
Just say no to that! If you have real-time, independent backup, there is no value or the Bad Guys in taking your files hostage. But there’s more you should do. Because, beyond back-ups that duplicate your files and systems, there is another way you can double up to protect yourself. It’s called multi-factor authentication.
You’ve undoubtedly seen this extra protection technique that confirms your identity before allowing log-in access. It is especially valuable to protect your most vulnerable potential access points – email, social media and bank accounts. Some websites -- particularly those that deal with medical or financial information -- require you to go through a multi-step process.
You know how it works. First you enter your user name and password. Then you’re asked to answer a personal question or two. You may even have to enter a special one-time code sent to you via text or email. Fingerprints and other biometrics such as eye scans are gaining popularity for personal authentication because it’s impossible (as of now) to duplicate them.
So whenever you’re offered the option of multi-level authentication, say yes. It adds another step to accessing that website, but it also adds another layer of protection to whatever information is stored there. Those few extra seconds it takes to log in are well worth the price
And don’t forget your devices. Most laptops and tablets, and many newer smartphones allow you to use a password, fingerprint, or a unique touchscreen pattern to verify your ID and unlock the device.
User names and passwords, even strong passwords, aren’t necessarily enough to keep cyber criminals at bay. So double up. Or triple up, if you can. And keep your eye on our blog for the episode in our series on hacks for safer cyber citizenship.