Computer Security Day 2012

From „Computer Security Day was started in 1988 to help raise awareness of computer related security issues. Our goal is to remind people to protect their computers and information. This annual event is held around the world on November 30th although some organizations choose to have functions on the next business day if it falls on a weekend.“ (The Computer Security Day web site seems to lack updates as posters for 2009 are still announced on their home page, but Computer Security Day is nevertheless a good idea.)

There is a list of suggestions on what you could do on Computer Security Day (and on other days of the year, of course), taken from Last year, I chose to take a look at step 5 „Check for software and program vulnerabilities“. I noticed that many faculty members at NISlab did not change their passwords regularly. (None of them changed since last Computer Security Day, including myself…)

This year, I focused on backups: „Back up your computer data. For every computer owned, back up the data. If you don’t already back-up regularly, make today the day to draw up a plan to remind yourself to make regular back-ups, or use a program that will do this for you automatically.“

At the college, backup is the primary responsibility of our IT department. I prepared for central backup by reviewing and moving all important files from my local harddrive to my home directory on the file server. Now, losing my harddrive will not lead to unavailability of data. I noticed that I tend to create files while being on travel, and then leave them in a temporary folder on my disk instead of moving them to my home directory or a project repository once I am back.

At home, I bought another portable harddrive. I had considered backing up data in the cloud, but realized soon that this was not a cost-effective solution. I have tens of gigabytes of family pictures and video, and I have not found a service provider that offers storage at a price competing with physical harddrives. After a year, I would be better off with buying a physical harddrive. So, my solution is to have my data duplicated on two harddrives and I do not expect them to fail both at the same time.

I still have not found a solution for when somebody steals both my computer and my backup drive, or what happens should my house be destroyed (and, consequently, both harddrives). Emails are already hosted by a service provider, so they would be easy to restore. Maybe I should find a place to physically store backups on DVD from time to time. Experimenting with Amazon Glacier could also be fun.

About Author: Hanno Langweg

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