Identity theft: three, two, one … backup!

tsj column writers - identity theftBy Jim Eastin

Protecting one’s identity includes many things that may not seem directly connected to identities but eventually show themselves to be. Backup is a good example. Backing up your data not only means you have a copy of it, it also means that you can’t be held hostage by someone who can corrupt your main copy and hold it for ransom.  Imagine losing all your photos, documents or email?  If you are a home user much of your life would be missing. If you are running a business it this could literally put you out of business.

The very best practice for making backups of your data is called the “3,2,1 Method.”  That means you have 3 copies, 2 on different media, and one off site.

The 3 copies may seem excessive at first but think about the strategy you are using now. Most people do not even have 1 copy. I have met many people who have all their family photos on their cell phone.  There is no backup at all. If the phone is lost, stolen or corrupted they lose everything. Some people burn a CD with their data on it, which is a good short term plan (CDs last about 10 years).  “Now,” they recon, “I have a backup.”  But then they erase their source.  So now they are back to having no copy.  There is no backup.  A good plan must have an original and 2 backups.

The second part of the 3,2,1 plan is that 2 copies should be on 2 different media.  If your original is in a hard drive in your computer then your backup should be on a CD or DVD or in the cloud.  That way if one medium is no longer available (remember tape drives, floppy disks and zip drives?) you can still access your data.

The final step is to have one of your copies off site.  That way a fire, flood or theft will not keep you from your data.  There are many ways to do this. You can copy your data from home device onto an external drive and take it to the office.  You can use a cloud storage solution like I drive or google drive or dropbox.  You can mail a copy to grandma.  The point is that it is away from the other copies.

Having good backups is a chore at first but once you get a good 3,2,1 system in place it become surprisingly easy to maintain it.  Give it a try.

If you have any feedback about this column, suggestions about a topic you would like me to discuss, or want me to come do a free identity theft seminar at your church or social club you can contact me at JimEastinLS.com

 

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