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Data

Devices

Backup

A good backup is worth a thousand mishaps. Anything that you care about should be backed up in some form.
  • Peace of mind Being able to get your files back in case of catastrophy (or simple accidental deletion) is good data recovery practice.
  • "In the cloud" doesn't necessarily mean "backed up" While some data recovery options exist for corporate versions of cloud data stores, many personal versions of these services don't back your data up. Make sure you have full backups on a separate service.
  • Ransomware Aside from the peace of mind of knowing that your data exists in backups even if you accidentally blow it away or lose a drive, there's also a security benefit to having a copy of that data somewhere else. One of the more popular attacks right now is ransomware. Basically, your files are encrypted by an attacker's malware using a key only they have, locking you out of your own files. They then offer to give you the key for a price. In this scenario, an unencrypted backup of those files would save you some sanity, and potentially money if you "have to pay." If you do decide to pay, not only would you be supporting a large criminal industry, but you the chances of you getting your data back are still not good.

Encrypt

Whether it's data in transit, or at rest, encryption plays a vital role in keeping your data private.
  • Before encrypting your data, make sure you have a backup If the encryption process fails in corruption, or you lose access to the decryption key, you'll want to be able to do a restore from another source.
  • "In the cloud" doesn't necessarily mean "encrypted" Before storing data you care about in a cloud service, look at what their data storage requirements are. If they don't say they're encrypting your data, they might not be.
  • Use encrypted secure connections Encrypting connections to and from your machine prevents prying eyes from seeing your data in transit. It's good practice to always use encrypted connections (like HTTPS and SSH) whenever available, especially on untrusted networks. You can also take this a step further and use a VPN service to tunnel all of your traffic across an encrypted connection. The UW runs a free VPN service (with some additional routing rules) Husky OnNet