Backing up of your computer data is essential to protect against losses, be them hard disk failure or theft.

There's a debate about the best kind of backup, but storing your data offsite and online is a good option.

Although at one time offsite backup was niche and often expensive, the cloud has brought about a revolution in inexpensive storage, making backing up online inexpensive and fuss-free.

There are many companies offering cloud back up, giving consumers a wide choice. Most people will look at the amount of storage available to them and the annual cost of this storage. However, if you are a business user, there are 2 other essential pieces of information you need to check:

1.    Security of back up data – what arrangements are in place for the security of your back up data?  This should be detailed on the cloud company website.

2.    Does storage comply with section 8 of the data protection act (UK)  as follows:

And not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area, unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data’.

 Please visit the Information Commissioners Office website and search for ‘cloud computing’ for further information and guidance.


Data Security


Have you ever stopped to think what might hapen if your computer was stolen, or it's data accessed by unauthorised persons?

The Information Commissioner's Office website provides some useful tips, as follows:

• For a good source of advice in plain English on security go to the government and business sponsored website getsafeonline.org.

• For computer security:

• Install a firewall and virus checking on your computers.

• Consider upgrading your operating system

• Protect your computer by downloading the latest patches or security updates, which should cover vulnerabilities

• Only allow your staff access to the information they need to do their job and don’t let them share passwords

• Encrypt any personal information held electronically if it will cause damage or distress if it is lost or stolen

• Take regular back ups of the information on your computer system and keep them in a separate place so that if you lose your computers, you don’t lose the information

• Don’t dispose of old computers until all the personal information on them has been securely removed (by using technology or destroying the hard disk)

• Consider installing anti-spyware. This protects against software that can be secretly installed on your computers. It can monitor use, look for private information or even give someone else control of your computer.


Do not open an attachment unless you trust the source.

■ Do you know the person who is sending you this file? If not, don’t open it. E-mail addresses can be “spoofed” – the “from” address can be faked.

■ Once the message is open does the content match the sender? If not, send it back and ask for clarification. 

■ Does it make sense that they are sending it to you? If not, send it back and ask for clarification.

■ Microsoft NEVER sends operating system patches as e-mail attachments. They will ask you to visit the Microsoft Web site to download any software. 
Sending Personal Information

E-mail is not secure. Think of it as sending a postcard written in pencil. As the card is delivered it makes numerous stops and can be altered or read by various people. Personal information should never be sent via e-mail – ssn, credit card, name, phone, address, and date of birth in combination. Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want on a billboard.


“Phishing is a scam where the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking e-mails appearing to come from some of the Web's biggest sites, including eBay, PayPal, MSN, Yahoo, BestBuy, and America Online, in an effort to phish (pronounced "fish") for personal and financial information from the recipient.”

Examples would be a message from your bank that asks you to update your account information. You click on the link, the legitimate bank site opens, then a page opens up on top asking you for your account info. This info page DOES NOT belong to the legitimate site. If you fill out your personal information and submit it, the info will go to the “phisher” to be sold or used to steal your identity.