computer backup

Backing Up: Your Computer Needs a Rearview Mirror

You wouldn’t drive your car without a rearview mirror. You certainly wouldn’t back up without one.

Neither should you drive your computer without one. You might even say that backing up your computer is your rearview mirror. Perhaps if we thought of it that way we might be more consistent backing up our PCs than most of us probably are.

Okay. Enough punning around. The point is that we need to back up our computers. Backing up preserves the memory of where we have been.

Here are five good reasons to back up consistently.

  1. Your computer isn’t going to do it by itself. Think of all the work that your computer is doing for you. Do you really expect it to do EVERYTHING for you? Backing up is something you do for your computer so that it can be all that it needs to be for you.
  2. Your computer can get sick. If your computer gets a virus, you can lose valuable information. Backing up what you know to be accurate can make restoring your data to complete health and functionality easily.
  3. Your computer can die. If you haven’t had a hard drive crash, you have got to be in the minority. They die. In fact, their mortality rate is much higher than we think – or would like to think. Statistics show that 22% of hard drives fail during the first four years of use. Some have defects. Some just die from overwork. If your hard drive crashes and you don’t have a backup, you will need a memorial service for your dearly departed data.
  4. Your computer user makes mistakes. We know this probably doesn’t apply to you, but we need to mention it for all our other readers. When you know that something has gone terribly wrong – like accidentally deleting a file – a recent backup may be your only remedy for human error.
  5. Your computer uses is a klutz. Again, this probably doesn’t apply to you, so be considerate of our other readers who have dropped their laptops in the past. Maybe some thought they were lucky (?) that it fell into a pile of snow, only to find that something got wet that shouldn’t get wet. It may not have been broken into smithereens, but the effect is the same.

We could go on, but the important thing is that you get the point and start backing up your digital devices on a regular basis, at least daily.

We understand that it is a pain to do and to remember to do. But it is still true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Guarding your technology begins with protecting your data. It is really that important and your protection all begins with you.

We are as concerned about your technology security as you are. Your computer system security is our business. That’s why Tech Sentries is always on duty. Contact us today to learn how we can help you “GUARD YOUR TECHNOLOGY” (843-282-2222).

Joe Thibodeau
Tech Sentries Inc
6251 Lindsey Rd.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
843-282-2222 Office/Fax
843-902-6885 Cell

guard your technology

Four Simple Ways to Guard Your Technology

guard your technologyGuarding your technology is a narrower way of saying “Protect your assets.” After all, your business’ computers, software, and information are a significant, specific segment of your assets. Worrying about guarding your technology won’t get you anywhere. You have to do something.

Think with us for a minute, not about specific threats, but the fundamental need to protect your assets. Here are four simple suggestions that, if followed, will prove beneficial.

  1. Back up your data. Often.

It has been 30 years since we entered the Information Age, i.e., the era when information began to become a business’ most important asset. Yet, in 2017, many businesses still do not perform a daily backup of their data. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Back up daily. That means every
  • Back up to the cloud. If an unforeseen local disaster strikes, your data is still safe.
  • Back up to a USB drive. If an unforeseen disaster happens locally or in the cloud, your data is still safe – as long as your USB drive is kept in a separate place.
  1. Use the Principal of Least Privilege.

This principle states that “each system component or process should have the least authority necessary to perform its duties.” This may be counterintuitive. That’s a good sign. The point is that the more authority a component or process or user has, the more exposure your system and your data have to cyber threats. You might call this “minimizing your threat window.”

  1. Keep All Your Software Up-to-Date.

There are two common excuses for not keeping software up to date.

  • You don’t want to spend the money (if, in fact, the update costs anything).
  • You want to wait until “they work the bugs out.” More than likely, the update is working the bugs out.
  1. Have 24/7 Support.

You can, and should, use security software, but don’t forget point #3. You have to be committed to keeping it up to date. Perhaps more importantly, your business information is always exposed to cyber threats, whether you are there or not.

If your tech security is not operational 24/7, you may as well not have any security. That’s where Tech Sentries comes in. We collaborate with you to ensure 24/7 protection, including ensuring backups and keeping your software up to date, plus monitoring your system for aberrations that may indicate potential attacks and more.

You should be concerned about your computer system security, but you should also know that you are not alone and defenseless in the computer world. Tech Sentries is always on duty. Contact us today to learn how we can help you “GUARD YOUR TECHNOLOGY” (843-282-2222).

Joe Thibodeau
Tech Sentries Inc
6251 Lindsey Rd.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
843-282-2222 Office/Fax
843-902-6885 Cell
https://www.techsentries.com

solid state hard drive

The State of Solid State Drives

solid state hard drive

Thirty years ago, General Motors introduced solid state voltage regulators that were built into the alternators on its cars. Previously, all voltage regulators were bulky electro-mechanical devices in housed in black metal boxes mounted to the engine compartment firewall or on the top side of a wheel well.

GM started the evolution of “internal” automotive regulators and an unintended revolution for drivers replacing the old electro-mechanical style. Aftermarket manufacturers discovered that it was not only possible, but also economical to replace the guts of an external regulator with a solid-state circuit. Unintended consequences occurred, however, when said drivers purchased what looked just like the old style, but weighed significantly less. They immediately assumed that they were getting cheated.


What Does This Have to Do with Computer Technology?

When the parts man behind the counter explained that the weight difference was only because the heavy mechanical parts had been replaced with solid state circuitry, customers demanded an exact replacement. They didn’t care that the several of the solid-state circuits could fit comfortably in the palm of their hand.

Whether we like to admit it or not, although we each have a modicum of excitement about advancements in technology, we also harbor a proportionate amount of skepticism depending on how much that technology touches us.

As more and more people become aware that Solid State Drive (SSD) technology is emerging as the replacement for magnetic drives, so does their level of skepticism. The question always seems be whether the new technology will be superior in every way to the one it is replacing, including it durability and useful life.

3 Things You Should Know About Solid State Drives

This may not answer all of your questions, but it should assuage some of your fears.

  1. SSDs are typically warranted for a minimum of 200 terabytes of “data writes.” To put that into perspective, that would be about three to five years of use by a typical small business.
  2. In actual independent testing, sample drives exceed 700 terabytes – three and a half times the warranted amount.
  3. Two of the SSDs in the test exceeded 1,000 terabytes (a petabyte). As a point of reference, only entities such as NASA would require that kind of capacity. Bob Rankin illustrates the matter with this dramatic comparison:

A petabyte is 1,000 Terabytes, a nearly incomprehensible number normally found only in NSA or NASA IT projects. The first three seasons of the HBO hit, “Game of Thrones,” in 1080p MP4 format, occupies 9,285,418,071 bytes (9.3 GB). One petabyte equals about 107,695 copies of that data set.”

On the other side of the coin, there is some indication that SSDs may, at this point have a higher uncorrectable error rate than magnetic disk drives. That should be a minor trade-off easily offset by having and keeping a strict data backup plan.

The evidence is clear. SSDs are superior to their predecessors. However, if you still have questions, don’t wait. Contact us today (843-282-2222). Tech Sentries is always on duty helping you “Guard Your Technology” at all hours of the day or night and keeping updated on how to be better prepared for Internet scams.

Joe Thibodeau
Tech Sentries Inc
6251 Lindsey Rd.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
843-282-2222 Office/Fax
843-902-6885 Cell
https://www.techsentries.com

Myrtle Beach Data Loss Prevention

Preventing Data Loss

Data Loss Myrtle Beach

 

Data loss affects every one of us, whether it is through home use or within an enterprise.  Data loss is something that no computer user can ignore.  It can range from family photos, copies of your resume or essential corporate data.
In each situation, it is serious business.

Being data recovery experts, we have experience in handling data loss on all levels.  While managing and recovering lost data is something we can do, we would prefer that you didn’t have to suffer from data loss at all.  Let’s take a look at the four main causes of data loss and how they can each be prevented.

Data Loss: Top Causes

Data loss is very common and varied, but can be categorized into four main areas.  The main causes of data loss that we see are:

  1. Failure of hardware
  2. Deliberate deletion or theft
  3. Deletion by accident
  4. Malware and viruses

Failure of Hardware

When your hardware fails, it can include anything from a hard drive dying to the loss of power to your data source.  It can also include events like having your main electricity affected by a storm or spilling that morning coffee onto your laptop.

Deliberate Deletion or Theft

Highly competitive businesses can suffer from industrial espionage, while all businesses can experience the anger of a disgruntled employee.  Wiping a system or leaving a time bomb code on a server is something that is very common.

Deletion by Accident

The number one reason we get called for data recovery is deletion by accident.  Hitting the delete key when sorting through files or hitting Format when cleaning up the hard drive, deletion by accident occurs every day.

Malware and viruses

With the best software and defenses in place, malware and viruses can still get through and cause many issues with data loss.  They can delete your data just because it can and others can hold your data by encrypting it and only giving you the key when you pay.

How to Prevent Data Loss

When it comes to preventing data loss, the task is a twofold process.  First, we must protect ourselves from the risk outlined above.  Secondly, we need to make sure that despite our best efforts, we have a working copy of the data that you need.

Hardware Maintenance – In order to help prevent data loss, we need to make sure that your computer or server is always kept, cool, free of dust, and maintained on a regular basis.  Surge protectors are also a huge help.  Using RAID striping across a server can help you survive a hard drive failure as well.  Many times, hardware failure is difficult to avoid.  Using RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) or other mechanical means to keep your system safe is a good idea, but they are by no means foolproof.

Local and Cloud Backup – When it comes to preventing deletion by accident, there is not a lot that we can do except enable shadow copy or File History in Windows 10.  This is by no means foolproof, but they are useful in restoring personal computer and office documents.  Microsoft Office can also be used to upload copies to Office servers as well as keep local backups.  Manually copying your data to cloud storage at the end of your day can be extremely important as well.

Malware and Virus Protection – Quality antivirus and malware programs and a router firewall can help keep malicious codes out of your systems.  By using a firewall, you can prevent hackers from gaining access to your computers and servers.  This is an essential part of IT security.

A Home user should take advantage of the firewall if it is provided in their ISP modem or router setup.  Companies should buy a hardware firewall suitable for the size of the network in order to provide adequate protection for their needs.

Deliberate Deletion or Theft As we stated before, there is little that you can do in order to prevent the attack of a determined attacker.  Restricted logins can help to prevent major damage and RAID will help, but only the use of offsite backups will save you from deliberate deletion or theft.

Backup Solutions That Are Effective and Won’t Break the Bank

Automated backup solutions can cost you thousands of dollars a year, but you may not need to go that route.

Home Users – Important documents can be protected from data loss by utilizing the cloud storage solution.  You can copy them manually into the folder or you can use Tech Sentries Backup or other programs to copy that data for you.  A failure can occur when you least expect it.  It’s a good habit to back up your computer, cellphone, tablet and other devices on a regular basis.

Small business – A home user approach will work great if your business is just you or a few people.  Otherwise, there are a few low-cost cloud storage options that will supply you with backup software that will automatically keep your data copied in the cloud storage.

Larger business – Microsoft Azure Storage, EMC and a few others provide enterprise-level backups that are needed for larger businesses.  If you need something on this scale, it is very likely that you will have an IT department that can manage this for you.

Preventing Data Loss as a Combined Approach

A two-fold process is needed in order to prevent data loss.  It’s important that you do what needs to be done in order to make sure your hardware remains working optimally at all times. Make sure that you secure your machines and network from harm’s way.

Once you have done this, you can then look at the data itself.  Keep copies, whether through manual or automatic backups.  Also, consider using third party systems such as Tech Sentries Backup to maintain offsite backups.  This will ensure that you can quickly recover your lost data should something happen.  An effective backup solution is only regarded as effective if you have two copies —  the original copy and one in a completely different location.  At this point, you can consider yourself well covered!

If you have any questions about preventing data loss or need our help with data recovery, please give us a call.  We are here to help you!

Joe Thibodeau
Tech Sentries Inc
6251 Lindsey Rd.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
843-282-2222 Office/Fax
843-902-6885 Cell
https://www.techsentries.com

 

dropbox got hacked

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling! Dropbox Got Hacked!

“Have you heard?dropbox got hacked

Dropbox was hacked!” 

“Oh no! When did that happen?”

“In 2012.”

“Now you’re telling me?”

 

If No News Is Good News Does That Make Old News Bad News?

Well, it’s a little bit of both. The good news is that it is old news. Dropbox has fixed their security issues. Everything should be fine now.

According to Information Age, “The company was alerted to the breach when users noticed they were receiving spam on email accounts they only used for Dropbox. Their investigation found that usernames and passwords recently stolen from other websites were used to sign in to a small number of Dropbox accounts.” (Emphasis ours.) That item was posted on 01 August 2012. Seems innocuous enough. Things happen.

Now for the bad news. Fortune magazine published a report on 31 August 2016 first released by Motherboard on 30 August 2016. Thanks to these updates, we now know what “a small number” means. To the surprise of many, it is close to 70 million. That’s small compared to the national debt, but it’s kind of a big deal for any of the 68,680,741 accounts whose email addresses and password details were stolen.

 

Don’t Run. Reset.

There is no need to panic (unless you are one of the 68,680,741). What’s done is done. It’s water under the bridge. There is nothing anyone can do to undo what has been done. Dropbox initiated a password reset during the last two weeks of August. According to a Dropbox spokesperson, “We’ve confirmed that the proactive password reset we completed last week covered all potentially impacted users.” That makes you wonder how similar “all potentially impacted” and “a small number” are.

Dropbox recommends that users also reset their passwords as a precautionary measure. Tech Talk has published seven easy steps to enable a two-step verification for Dropbox account access. Those steps are listed below.

  • Sign in to dropbox.com.
  • Click on your name from the upper-right of any page to open your account menu.
  • Click Settings from the account menu and select the Security tab.
  • Under Two-step verification section, click Enable.
  • Click Get started.
  • For security reasons, you’ll be asked to re-enter your password to enable two-step verification. Once you do, you’ll be given the choice to receive your security code by text message or to use a mobile app.
  • After enabling the feature, consider adding a backup phone number that can receive text messages as well. If you ever lose your primary phone, you’ll be able to receive a security code to your backup phone number instead.

That does it. Be good to go. The sky is not falling. We will let you know if it is.

In the meantime, if you need any additional information, contact us here at Tech Sentries at 843-282-2222.

Joe Thibodeau
Tech Sentries Inc
6251 Lindsey Rd.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
843-282-2222 Office/Fax
843-902-6885 Cell
https://www.techsentries.com