Whether you prefer your vacation to be exciting or relaxing, you need to be confident that your computer is waiting for you just the way you left it. These 6 steps will guide you through the essential things you need to do in order to come back home to a safe and accessible computer.
We will go through some essentials like security measures, data safety and remote access. Also we will provide some practical tips regarding general computer safety.
Step 1: Data Backup
You need to have confidence that your data is safe while you’re away and the way to do that is to perform a backup. While the computer itself is great for storing and protecting your precious data, some unexpected accidents can always occur and this is how you can stay ahead.
Trust your data backup software: Consider investing in a good data backup software. These applications can create backups of your computer’s whole system or just specific files and folders. Backup of a full system can be a lifesaver in case of a major failure.
Schedule your backups: Make sure to set up a backup schedule. Setting up a regular backup schedule, like daily or weekly, ensures that your data is never lost. Just make sure to store it in a secure location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud-based service.
Invest in an external drive: Creating a physical backup on an external drive lets you recover your data if your computer fails, gets stolen or in any way gets separated from the network. Just make sure to keep the external drive stored separately from the computer.
Use a cloud backup service: Cloud based services like your favorite drive for storing data can provide an extra layer of security. They can be set-up to automatically synchronize your files and they also provide access from any device with an internet connection. You can make all your files encrypted for an extra layer of protection.
Step 2: Security Measures
In order to make your computer reliable for years to come (and you come back from vacation), you need to make it secure from malware. Follow these steps to a worry-free digital presence.
Antivirus: The antivirus has 3 main functions:
1) Detecting, blocking, and removing viruses, malware, and ransomware
2) Preventing identity theft and blocking phishing
3) Warning about dangerous websites.
Every antivirus program has its pros and cons, so make sure to find one that fulfills your needs. You can check out this list of the best antivirus programs. Whichever antivirus you choose, make sure to update it and run a full system scan to catch any lurking threats.
Setup your Firewall: The firewall is the first line of defense against network threats so make sure that it’s set in that protects it. For an added layer of protection you can use a dedicated firewall client.
Make sure that your passwords are unbreakable: Using strong, unbreakable passwords is essential if you want your vacation to be carefree. Passwords are what protects your privacy, so make them strong.
Make sure to use different passwords for every account and if you cannot remember them consider using a password manager. Hackers and cybercriminals use a range of tactics to crack passwords, such as brute force attacks, dictionary attacks and social engineering.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Two-factor authentication is a security method that requires two separate forms of identification. The most common one uses a password and verification by a mobile phone. Implementing two-factor authentication on your most important accounts such as email and online banking adds an extra layer of protection and makes your stay a little more carefree.
Step 3: Software Updates
Your operating system is what makes your computer a safe and well-functioning machine. It manages your computer’s memory, processes, hardware and software. Outdated applications can also leave you vulnerable to malware attacks. Keeping your operating system and applications up-to-date is of paramount importance to your computer’s safety.
Operating System: In order to update your Windows computer, go to “Settings” > “Update & Security” and check for any updates. To update the system on MacOS, you need to visit the “App Store” and look if there are updates available. Make sure that your system is set to install updates automatically for ongoing protection.
Applications: Make sure that your applications are up-to-date. This is important as with each new update the applications, apart from new functions, get a new layer of protection from malware. Usually they enable you to choose automatic update options.
Driver Updates: Updated drivers can improve performance and resolve potential security issues so make sure that they are updated. Driver updates for graphic cards, networks adapters and peripherals demand the most attention.
Step 4: Consider using Remote Access
If you think that you might need to access your computer while away, consider some remote access options. They allow you to access your data and even your computer, with just an internet connection.
Cloud Storage: Cloud services let you access important files from anywhere using just internet connection. Make sure that your files are encrypted so that all of your data is safe.
Remote Desktop: Remote desktop lets you access one computer’s desktop from a separate computer. If you do require remote desktop access, make sure that you set up strong authentication. You should limit access only to the IP addresses you trust and make sure not to use default port settings.
VPN (Virtual Private Network): VPN is used to hide the user’s IP address by switching traffic from computer to a remote server. It’s great for securing remote access to your home network. There are a wide range of VPN services you can use according to your needs.
Step 5: Practical Tips
By now your computer has been systematically prepared for your away time. Here are some additional practical tips to keep your computer safe and accessible during your vacation:
Unplug: If your computer doesn’t need to be turned on during your stay, you should unplug it. This way you will Save energy and prevent electrical issues.
Notify someone you trust: Let your friends or family know about your travel plans and your computer setup. Share with them your immediate contact details so that they can assist if there is a need to.
By following these steps you can confidently leave for your vacation. Your computer will remain secure and accessible if there is a need for that.
Your digital life is secure and your time away is guaranteed to be carefree with the right preparations. Safe travels!
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