If your computer is stolen

How prepared are you if your computer gets stolen?

Keep in mind, having a backup of everything is not good enough. Having a computer stolen is NOT the same as having a computer crash.

Whether your computer is stolen or the hard drive crashes, having a backup of all your files is the first step. In my opinion, it’s too easy and too inexpensive to not be backing up your computer regularly. In my case, I use Carbonite.com to automatically backup my primary computer so if something happens, I can access the files remotely or download them all to another computer and no files are lost. I don’t pay attention to Carbonite at all since it works in the background but for around $50 a year it’s well worth it. The one thing it doesn’t back up is your program files but those are easy to retrieve. It’s the data that has the real value.

The big issue if your computer is stolen is to know what information is on your computer that could benefit someone else. For example, if you have a list of passwords or bank information on your computer that might give the thieves access to your confidential information. If you have other peoples confidential information you MUST let them know this information has been compromised. There might be an inclination to not tell others out of fear or embarrassment but you owe it to others to let them know the situation.

Once you know the information that has been compromised it’s important to change all access codes as soon as possible. This might mean changing your ATM pin number, changing your home security password or any other code that is now public.

A large portion of the computers stolen have information that might be valuable but the information never gets seen because the computer gets reformatted and then frequently sold. However, you have to be prepared for the worst so having a list of the information that is on your computer which would need to be changed will make things MUCH easier if the worse case scenario happens.

One way to avoid a lot of this risk is to host your files on a cloud. This simply means hosting the files on remote servers so if your computers is stolen no information is lost since nothing was stored on the computer. The advantage of the cloud over a regular server is if the server crashes, all is lost, if a server which is part of a cloud crashes, the information is still available on other servers. There are some other risks involved with hosting all files remotely (such as the fact I’m writing this post at a cabin that has no Internet access so I have no files available to me at the present time) but from a security standpoint, it does lessen the concern if a computer is stolen

It’s better and easier to plan ahead of time in case your computer is stolen. Unfortunately, most people wait till it’s too late and then panic.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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