All of us use computers every day. Because of that, the vast majority of our lives is stored in a mass of “1’s” and “0’s”. Here are some ideas to help you protect your digital data and make sure you don’t fall victim to a “digital meltdown”.
Let’s address each one in more detail.
If you want to see some of the most common passwords and how long it would take a hacker to figure out, here’s a link to check out.
The key to good passwords is to use a different one for every account you need a password for and to make each unique password difficult to duplicate. Something like “Pa#ss@23w79*or%6d” is much, much more secure than “password”. The problem is how in the heck can you remember all those complicated passwords. The answer is “you don’t remember it” because you should be using a password manager to remember it for you.
There are many password manager products on the market, and you can search the web for options, both free and subscription-based. Instead of spending a lot of time researching options I’m going to save you a bunch of time and suggest you take a serious look at LastPass. LastPass works by securely storing all your passwords in a vault which you access by entering a “Master Password”. This means that you only have to remember one password. I’ve been using it since 2012 and have had zero issues with it. It just plain works. LastPass has both a free and premium (just $24/yr) version and integrates across all of your devices. You can try it for free and if it doesn’t work for you there are other options out there. Here’s a post on The Wirecutter with some alternatives. If you do end up using LastPass there’s a good article on Lifehacker on how to set it up.
If you want to get an idea of the “randomness” of your password you can check out GRC’s Search Space Calculator. It’s provided by Steve Gibson, one of the premier security experts out there. The site will give you an idea of how many passwords could be created from the combinations of letters, numbers and symbols you use in the password.
In addition to using a password manager there is another thing you should do to protect your digital data, and that is backup your files. Data experts suggest you have “3-2-1” strategy: 3 copies of your data, 2 of which are local but on different mediums and at least 1 copy offsite. How do you do that? Like password managers there are many different options, typically at a cost of $5-$10/month for “unlimited” backup. One service I recommend is IDrive. You can use the software for free to backup 5GB of your data and for about $70/year you can backup 2 terabytes of data from one computer to the cloud. IDrive works silently in the background, continuously updating and backing up your important files. If your computer’s hard drive crashes you will be able to recover your important files from IDrive and be back up and running in no time.
Using a password manager like LastPass and backup software such as IDrive is a smart way to protect your digital data and reduce the chances of experiencing your own, terrible, data disaster. Nothing is 100% secure and guaranteed to be “disaster free” but these two strategies will help a lot. It will take some effort on your part but don’t delay in starting. Remember, theft of your data by a hacker or loss of data due to a disk failure can happen at any time, usually at the absolute worst time. So, it’s important that you act as soon as possible to secure your data.
If you have ever thought about working with a financial planner or would like a second opinion on anything related to your financial life, I’d be honored to speak with you. You can contact me by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our website at www.financialclaritypartners.com and clicking the link for the “Contact Us” page. Or, if you want to speak with me directly, go ahead and give me a call at 678-626-7526 and we can discuss your needs and determine if my services might be a match.