So this is the year where you are going to shed of those extra pounds? I certainly have plans this year, to get rid of that extra weight! Anyways, we are not talking here about weight loss program for the new years resolutions, but we can certainly try the below technology resolutions for this year at least.
The top 4 items in my list below are nothing new and most of you might already doing it or know about it but haven’t implemented it in your daily workflows. Let’s begin:
Back it up
I have been listening to this since my college days, that backup your most important files. Well I certainly do now, but not before I lost my most precious project files back in school life. Trust me, I had tears!
Unlike back in the days where you had to back it up on physical media discs (I did it on Floppies, CDs, DVDs, Flash disks & external hard drives). Today things are pretty simple and there are many options to back up your important files.
I am sure you have been told this many times, but I am reiterating, please do backup your essentials files, photos and videos. If your PC is hit by a virus, hard disk failures, or you simply lost your PC or it gets stolen, more important that your laptop is your data. And not having your data with you is a big loss. Be it you are student with work in progress report, or a photographer with precious photos, or an accountant with financial information.
There are many cloud providers at your disposal and they all do the basics right. There are choices like Dropbox, Carbonite, Google Drive, OneDrive and others.
While most of the services mentioned are good, I personally like OneDrive & recommend it to my family and friends.
I have been using OneDrive for a very long time now, when it was known as SkyDrive. Upon signing up it gives you 5GB of free storage, synchronizing tool for your computer to backup files to the cloud. If your company has subscribed to some Office 365 plan, you may as well get 1TB of storage. I am on Office 365 Home and with it comes OneDrive 1TB, Office applications for up to 5 devices, Skype points and many other. This is actually one of the best ways to get Microsoft Office applications for 5 devices at roughly $100/year.
Please be smart with Passwords this year
Yes, this too you have heard a million times by your tech friends, your IT guys in your organization but you will not listen!
As they say, to know the value of time, ask a student who has failed a semester. Imagine losing access to your bank account, your personal email or business email account, Facebook or some social media accounts? This is pretty scary if you sit and think about it for a moment. Someone else gaining unauthorized access to your banking details can be catastrophic.
Never use easy to use passwords, your birthdays, etc. Always make your passwords difficult to crack. Combine it with letters, numbers, special characters, upper/lower case and minimum of 8 characters or more.
There are some services out there to also assist you on this. I personally don’t use any of these, but you can look into LastPass and 1Password. Both are great, easy to use, encrypted solutions to generate, and save complex passwords for you. The great part is, it remembers passwords for you, so it can autofill username and passwords for your emails and other social media websites.
Protecting your Computer
In 2020, if your Computer’s Operating System does not take care of inbound/outbound network traffic, web browser warning for fake sites or suspicious downloads or allowing a secure boot when turning on a computer, then it’s time to consider another modern operating system.
I haven’t been using a 3rd party Anti-Virus (such as Norton, AVG) since Windows XP. I am sure you are shocked. I have written about the built-in AV that comes with current Windows operating systems and you can check it out here.
I use latest Windows 10 – 1909 which is the most secured Windows operating system that Microsoft has ever shipped. Some of the security features Windows 10 comes built in are:
- Windows Security (Formerly Defender)
- Windows Firewall
- SmartScreen / Sandboxing in Edge browser
- User Account Control
Look, if the user is really careless and goes and downloads a file from unknown source and executes it despite operating system giving warnings, then even a 3rd party Anti-virus is not going to protect you against computer threats. I believe the security situation is split 50/50 – 50% the Operating System needs to protect while the other, the user also has to know where and what he/she is downloading and running on their computers.
As far as my recommendation goes, Windows 10 today is very secure and the built in Windows Security (AV) is really good at detecting viruses.
Keeping Windows 10 Up to Date
Staying up to date with any operating system is very important in todays world with new threats arising everyday. This partly goes with my point above, apart from having 3rd party or built in AV, it is crucial to always keep your MacOS, Windows, Linux, or any Mobile operating systems up to date.
Apart from new updates giving users new features, they in most cases bring in a lot of new security features, or fix a patch that could be exploited by the bad guys.
Microsoft every month releases cumulative updates which includes a lot of security related updates. Having up to date operating system along with above points (in Anti Virus point) can give you peace of mind that your operating system will stay safe for daily use and browsing online.
However I must reiterate, a lot also depends on the user. If the user is sound enough and knows which websites and files could be harmful then in most cases not having any 3rd party AntiVirus is completely alright.
- Operating System is always up to date
- Anti Virus (Windows Defender/Security) definitions are up to date
- Backups are regularly done/using cloud backups like OneDrive
- Using updated web browser (Chrome/Edge) are good options