Computer security

Rohan Brown

How secure is your computer systems from attack or loss? Over the years I have had any number of clients contact me about loss of data. The main reasons for this are due to computer failure or outside issues such as virus attack.

A recent example of this was a client that had been infected by a Ransom virus. In this case their system had been infected and the virus encrypted their accounting software data file (or any on the network) rendering the file useless. The options from here were to pay the ransom and hope they decrypt the file for you (good luck with that) or clean the whole computer and restore a backup. In our case the client had a backup from not long before the infection to fall back onto.

Other causes of similar incidents are hardware failure such as crashed hard drives, accidental deletion of files, formatting and refreshing of the computer hard drives.

Especially in these days of having all our photos, videos, music, business records etc on computer, data protection is more important than ever.

This brings us to a number of security issues you must be aware of:

  • Firstly there is no replacement for a decent backup regime. This should be done over various drives or media (ie USB, portable hard disk, cloud services), don’t just rely on one USB stick
  • Backups, particularly if very sensitive should be rotated and stored offsite; this prevents total destruction of all files in the event of a major catastrophe.
  • Have internal security processes in place. Ensure that all team members are aware of what they can and cannot do on computers. The main reason virus are introduced to a system is via email, illegal downloading and sharing of information, not necessarily someone hacking into your computer.
  • When having work done on your system ensure that the computer technician understands what you do and don’t have copies of.
  • Ensure that you know your backups work. I have heard of many clients that have been making backups for years, yet when they need them find they have not been working for a long period of time.

For more information on data security there is a wealth of information on the internet.

It need not be expensive, but is often simply being careful and not sophisticated.