The 3 Most Expensive Computer Disasters… And How To Avoid Them

Have you every lost an hour of work on your computer? Now imagine if you lost day or weeks of work – or even ALL of the files, databases, pictures, music, and financial information you have ever produced or compiled.

Pretty scary thought yet most small businesses and home users are wide open to this level of data loss simply because they are not adequately prepared.

Every day new viruses, hackers, software glitches, and even hardware malfunctions threaten the safety of your computer or network and the information it holds. Then there are the often overlooked, but very real disasters caused by storms, theft, fire, or flood.

Companies or individuals that experience these types of disasters rarely recover unless they have taken and properly executed the preventative maintenance steps I outline in this report.

 

Why Small Business And Home Users Are
Especially Vulnerable To These Disasters

Most small businesses (and especially home users) don’t have a full time, dedicated IT staff supporting and maintaining their network. Most just set up their computer or network and use it until it stops working.

Unless the user/owner is somewhat of an expert themselves, there is a good chance that no one is paying any attention to whether or not files are backed up properly, if the virus protection is up-to-date, or if critical software patches are installed. Without this basic maintenance, you are extremely vulnerable to attacks and even more susceptible to losing everything in the event of a virus or crash.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now To Protect Yourself

While it’s impossible to plan for every potential computer disaster or emergency, there are a few easy and inexpensive measures you can put into place that will help you avoid the vast majority of computer disasters you could experience. I strongly recommend that you protect yourself from these top 3 disasters at a minimum.

Computer Protection Tip #1: Keep Up-To-Date Virus Protection Installed

You would have to be living under a rock to not know how devastating a virus can be to your computer or network. And with virus attacks coming from spam, data and music files, web sites, and even e-mails from friends, you cannot afford to not be protected. At a minimum, I recommend you buy Avast Professional Antivirus which we have found to be the best solution for protecting you against the millions of viruses circulating around the internet today while providing you constant automatic updates.

I would also advise you to NEVER open suspicious looking e-mails or attachments. You also want to make sure anyone else using your computer knows this as well.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution and delete it immediately!

Finally, avoid downloading music, free software, or other files from unknown web sites. One of the WORST types of sites to visit are peer to peer file sharing sites such as KaZaa. These web sites are breeding grounds for viruses and you are practically asking to get infected.

Computer Protection Tip #2: Set Up a Firewall

Small business owners and home users tend to think that because they are “just a small business” or “just a home user” no one would waste time trying to hack in to their network, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Just recently I conducted experiments were I connected a single computer to the internet with no firewall.  Within hours, over 13 gigabytes of space was taken over with malicious code and files that I could not delete.

There are thousands of unscrupulous individuals out there who think its fun to disable your computer with malicious code. These individuals strike randomly by searching the internet for open, unprotected ports. As soon as they find one, they will delete files or download huge files that cannot be deleted shutting down your hard drive. When this happens, you will need to re-format the entire machine.

You have a few options to protect yourself. First, if you are using Windows, set up the software firewall that is included.  This is not 100% bullet proof but it will go a long way in keeping the majority of hackers off your machine.  Ideally you want to purchase a router to stand between you and the Internet.

Computer Protection Tip #3: Properly Back Up Your Files

According to IDC (www.idc.com) roughly 80% of small businesses and home office PC users have crucial data that is not backed up on a regular basis. All too often this happens because users are “too busy” to perform back ups.

This is like saying you’re too busy driving your car to put your seatbelt on. Taking that simple preventative step of buckling up doesn’t really show its true value until you get into a head on collision; at that point you are either extremely relieved that you had it in place or incredibly sorry you didn’t.

Your data is constantly at risk due to hardware failure, human error, software corruption, PC viruses, theft, and physical disaster. The only way to make sure you are protected from loosing your files is to make sure you have a good, reliable back up.

If you have 2 or more computers, the first thing you want to do is network all of the computers in your office and consolidate the files to one machine. Not only will this make back ups easier and more reliable, but it will also allow you to organize your data better.

Next, I recommend that you duplicate and store all computer files in a space separate from your computer’s hard drive. This can be done very easily and automatically with either an external hard drive that costs no more than $100 total for the hardware and software, or a DVD burner that costs under $60. Which one you chose will depend on the size of files being backed up. Another growing trend that ensures the safety of your files during a natural disaster or if your local backup fails is “Cloud” based backups, which sends your files to a remote location for safe keeping. PlanetCPU offers both these solutions for a very reasonable cost – potentially saving you a huge amount of time, money and headache!

Want Help Securing Your Network or Computer From These Disasters?

If you need help in selecting and setting up a good anti-virus software, firewall, and system back up, give us a call and we’ll be happy to make specific recommendations on what you need to do to secure your computer or network against data loss of expensive computer repair bills!

If you’re a business with 8 or more computers in your network, give us a call and we’ll come by to perform a basic network audit to  help you understand how safe and secure your network currently is, and what you can do to make it better – saving your company from unforeseen disasters and helping you save tons of money in IT costs!

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