This blog is my attempt to share information with faculty, introducing new apps, websites, or other snippets of information that may be of use to faculty. I am also using it to keep track of projects I'm working on that might be good to reference in the future.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Safeguarding Laptop - Part 2


One of my projects for Spring Break was to figure out how to cost effectively secure my PC (and then share with other users at school).  After doing some thinking these are the things I wanted to do:
1) Label mobile devices so they can be returned if lost.
2) Backup my system regularly - to include data, passwords, etc.
3) Find a system to track my device/laptop if it gets stolen, or misplaced.
4) Set up a firewall to block incoming and outgoing traffic I don't want (make it more secure)
5) Look into encryption software, or a way to ensure my data doesn't get out if I do have my laptop stolen. Do I use a BIOS password, software, an online password storage/retrieval system.
6) Determine what other security software I may need.

I also wanted to do this for my other mobile devices (phone, tablet) and not just my laptop.

Safeguarding Laptop - Part 2
Part two in this series is backing up my system regularly.  I start with the data, because that is the most important.  But I think you need to worry about four 'layers' of protection.....

On-site Backups (Layer 1):
Backing up your laptop can be a pain, but it is something that is necessary, unless you don't mind losing all your files.  The first thing to do is get an external hard drive.  Most new USB hard drives come preloaded with backup software.  The hard drive manufacturers use different backup software, but they are all reliable. You should get an hard drive that is at least three times the size of your internal hard drive you want to back up.  I would recommend you get as large a drive as you can afford.  Depending of the type of software that is used for backups, it could use more disk space than your current hard drive is...so while all use some type of encryption or compression, you can modify the settings to suit your needs.  Most new software will work automatically, so you just have to plug in the drive and it will backup your files in the background.

Mirror Backup (Layer 2):  
If you external drive is large enough, you should also do a mirror of your hard drive.  Performing a mirror will make an exact copy of hard drive (software and settings), so that if your hard drive crashes you can just use the mirror image to reload onto a new hard drive in your computer and you are back up and running. Some of the backup programs that come with the external hard drives can do this, but some just backup files, so if your drive crashes and you get a new drive, you will have to reload windows, install software and then copy your data files back.  Check your documentation to determine what the program that comes with you external hard drive does.

Off-Site Backup (Layer 3):
Off-site backups (web based) serve two purposes....1) if the backup drive and laptop are destroyed in a fire (because both are in same physical location) and 2) it allows you to potentially access files remotely or from another computer.

Some options that you could look into are:
MozyHome (Free Trial 2GB)
Carbonite (15 day free trial)
JungleDisk
MiMedia (7GB free)

You could also use Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync or Box.net.  These are designed for file sharing and file access, but it can be used as a backup service as well - and you can easily access your files from anywhere.

Password Backup (Layer 4):
Keeping track of passwords is also something you dont want to lose the data.  There are many password management programs that will help you keep track of all your passwords, and you can access using the web, a mobile device or desktop.

Here are some programs you can look into: RoboForm, LastPass and KeePass.
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