Theft: 9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Losing Your Data

Do you rely on your computer for business?

Is your computer and data secure?

To learn more about ways to protect yourself and your business, this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast gives you insight into the subject.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, you’ll learn different ways to protect your data and make sure your business is back up and running very quickly if you were ever to lose it.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.


Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Computer Security

Why secure your computer?

There are two main reasons to secure your computer.

  1. Peace of mind. If your hard drive was to crash or you had your computer stolen, you need to know that it doesn’t spell the end of your business. It allows you to sleep at night. Theft and a hard drive crash are almost the same outcomes. Peace of mind is a big deal.
  2. Business continuity. You don’t want the loss of your computer to be the end to their business. This is why it’s essential to implement security measures. The good news about a lot of this stuff is, it’s set and forget. It only takes a small amount of your time, and in certain cases some financial investment, to know that you will be able to continue to operate no matter what happens to your computer.

Recently I received a phone call from my office informing me that my two iMacs had been stolen.

theft from office

My empty desk.

When the police arrived we were informed that another office within the same building had also been targeted.

The alarm system was set, it hadn’t been disarmed and even the motion sensors hadn’t been triggered. They broke through the office window, taking the computers with them.

You’ll hear the reason why my office was vulnerable.

broken office window

The scene of the crime.

In total I lost about a day and a half of my time and you’ll discover how I got back online within 5 hours.

I thought I would share my story with you and hopefully you’ll be able to take some notes from it.

Here are 9 tips to protect yourself from losing your data.

#1: Set-up a remote backup

I highly recommend that you have a remote back-up plan in place. I use CrashPlan and for approximately $60 a year have unlimited back-up capabilities.

crashplan

For peace of mind, use CrashPlan to back-up your data.

Listen to the show to hear how CrashPlan works and the different account levels they offer.

#2: Back-up to an external hard drive

You have to make sure that your hard drive is external from your computer. If you put yourself in the minds of the thief, they want to make a quick buck. They don’t really care about your hard drive, just your computer.

An external hard drive is critical. In my case they left the hard drive behind and I was able to plug it into my new computer. It was the key to everything.

new imac

My hard drive was essential to getting me back online quickly.

For the iMac they have got a really cool thing called Time Machine.

Make sure you store your external hard drive somewhere out of sight. Remember the thieves unplug all the cables and just take the computer.

Listen to the show to hear how Time Machine works similar to CrashPlan, and how it can get you back up and running very quickly.

#3: Secure your browser passwords

You should make sure you have a password to log onto your computer. A password can be a deterrent, although when someone does steal your computer, they are likely to reformat the hard drive, rather than try to figure out the password.

Make sure you also password protect your web browser. This is really important because we access our banking accounts, merchant systems, blogging tools, email etc from within a web browser.

Everything seems to live out in the cloud these days. So it’s critical to have that web browser protected. When it comes to setting up a master password, you’ll learn about what Firefox offers differently to Chrome and Safari.

Listen to the show to hear why it’s even more important to secure your web browser when working on a laptop.

#4: Use 1Password with Dropbox

You can buy 1Password on your android, your iPhone, tablet or any of your personal computers.

I have 1Password installed on my laptop, desktops, iPhone and iPad and what’s really cool about it is that it integrates with Dropbox.

You’ll discover how 1Password integrates with your web browser and synchronizes all your passwords. It’s available on any of your devices, wherever you go, whenever you go.

The ability to have central storage that’s encrypted and stored within Dropbox and accessible through 1PassWord, makes it easy for me to operate. It’s the secret to everything.

Listen to the show to find out why you need to have strong passwords on both your Dropbox and 1Password accounts.

#5: Keep your blinds closed

I know this sounds crazy, but keeping your blinds closed is essential.

The bottom line is if I’d have had my blinds closed, the thieves wouldn’t have been able to look in with a flashlight and see my computers. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind to a thief.

It seems so simple, but it’s the easiest thing that we can do to protect ourselves.

Listen to the show to hear the advice given to me by the Police Department.

#6: Use a device location tool

LoJack is a tool that you can buy for Mac or PC. It allows you to report to the police that your computer has been stolen, and to track its location.

If you’re a Mac user, there is a really cool feature called FindMyMac. If you enable the location device on all of your devices, you can log into iCloud and it will pull up a map and show you where your devices are.

find my mac

FindMyMac will locate your devices.

Another piece of software called LogMeIn, is remote access software. I have it installed on my computer and if anyone does figure out how to hack into it, I can remotely log in from anywhere in the world to my computer and I try to look up the IP address to see where it is.

log me in

LogMeIn allows you manage your devices anytime, anywhere.

Listen to the show to discover how this feature can help you find your device and hopefully lead to recovery.

#7: Take photographs of serial numbers

Fortunately I still have the box from one of my iMacs because it was only 60 days old.

I recommend you take a photograph of the serial number on the box and store it somewhere safe. It can be really helpful to the police and pawn shops.

Listen to the show to find out the best places to store your serial numbers.

#8: Secure your office with motion sensors and video surveillance

If you have a home office or are in a physical building, you can secure your office a few different ways.

First and foremost, you should definitely have a security system. We have motion sensors and door sensors.

Motion sensors have a wide range of motion, so make sure the light comes on where your computer equipment is situated.

You’ll learn about glass break detectors and how they work.

Video surveillance is another great option. There are a lot of cool things you can do with video surveillance and it’s a lot cheaper than you think. Not only is it a good idea to install video surveillance on the outside of your building at points of entry, but also to have it installed in your office.

The equipment available today has improved a lot and Amazon have a really cool system called SVAT-CV301 that has day and night vision with high definition.

video surveillance equipment amazon

Amazon's SVAT-CV301 surveillance camera.

Listen to the show to hear how this device works and how it can lead to the capture of the culprit.

#9: Other steps to take

First of all make sure you have good insurance. A lot of insurance companies have riders that you can put on your policy that covers computer devices.

You’ll find out about the experience I had with my insurance company, what you need to provide them with and the words to use to accelerate your claim.

When it comes to software, make sure you keep all the serial numbers. This is critical if your back-ups go bad. If you download your software through Amazon, they actually store all the serial numbers.

Listen to the show for more useful tips.

Something is Coming Soon …

If you listened to our last episode, I hinted about Project Torch. Listen to the show to find out more about Project Torch: My Kids Adventures.

My Kids Adventures is a movement for parents who want to bring adventure back to the family. It’s going to be a great resource to help any parents or grandparents respond to children who say, “I’m bored, I don’t know what to do.”

my kids adventures

My Kids Adventures is coming soon.

It will be a free online magazine for parents to help them create memorable adventures anywhere, whether it’s inside or outside the home.

My Kids Adventures is in the development stage right now. Here are two things you can do if you want to help, or be a part of it.

  1. Get on the Founders list. The Founders list is a place where you can get the inside scoop on what’s going on with My Kids Adventures. You can get on that list by going to My Kids Adventures.
  2. Join the movement. If you want to help us create content, or in any other way, visit My Kids Adventures or email us at kids@socialmediaexaminer.com.

I am extremely excited. This is a passion project for me and I’m fully committed to making this a success. I really do believe that we’re going to change the lives of a lot of families as a result of this effort.

Please check out the cool video. Let your friends know about it. The launch date hasn’t officially been released yet, so listen for more information in future podcasts.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please head over to iTunes, leave a rating, write a review and subscribe.

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on protecting your data? Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Computer security is something we seem to always put off as Entrepreneurs. Thanks for these awesome tips Mike!

    Rock on SME peeps!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • http://www.intervistedisuccesso.com/ Leonardo Plebani

    Very helpful post and really interesting topic. I knew half of the method and I’ll for sure implement with the other half!

    _Leo

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks John – It is something most of us don’t think about that much

  • Lisa

    I am happy to finde this greate post. The aricel is very helpful form me.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the reminder! The temptation is to think it won’t happen to you. My daughter just had her mac and iphone stolen last week – and didn’t have a backup. She is heart-broken about losing precious photos, videos, files, etc. It seems my hard drives (regardless of brand) crashes every couple of years.

  • http://www.cmhvideo.com/about/ Ryan White – CMH Video

    Hey Mike,

    Sorry for your loss. Glad to hear you got back up quickly.

    I think its great you provided a high value post on how others can protect themselves and set themselves up for a quick recovery if something happens to them. Really enjoyed the podcast, as always.

    Have a great one,
    Ryan

  • Ricky A.

    Sorry that this happened to you, Mike, but, unfortunately, disaster recovery+business continuity are things that we all need to think about. This is true whether it’s something malicious like theft or something coincidental like fires, weather, or even “forgetfulness.”

    I like the suggestion about browser security because it helps address how to minimize the potential evil that can be done by the thief. I would also suggest moving to full-disk encryption for your hard drives. Even if the thief can’t crack your machine’s login password, they can easily access all your documents by using a recovery disc or just installing your hard drive in another machine. How many of us are going paperless, and have our tax returns stored on our machines as PDFs? That’s dangerous info if it gets in the wrong hands. Full-drive encryption can make the drives useless without the password.

    I’ll say that the advice to tether your external hard drive via a long USB cable is “interesting.” Sure, most robberies are smash-and-grab, but if the thief has time, he can certainly follow the cable to wherever it leads. A better solution would be to use some type of network-attached storage which your machine could backup to over the network without the need for tell-tale wires.

    However, this also doesn’t help you if the building burns down or a tornado rips through. Of course, your cloud-based backup is your ultimate savior here, but I’ve gone to a different (an additional) approach here.

    I use a service called Cubby (similar to Dropbox) to keep multiple computers in sync. I originally did this because I like working both in the office and at home, and I didn’t want to have to lug a laptop back and forth. You just go to whatever computer is convenient (work desktop, home desktop, or travel laptop), and you always have the latest version of your files. Work as normal, hit save, and the service keeps every computer up to date.

    There are a number of things I like about this approach. First is the convenience with respect to how I work. Second is that, if there is a problem, I have data nearby for immediate uptime. Third is that most of the services are intelligent enough to prioritize recovery via the (faster) local network over the (slower) internet meaning that I can restore the data on, say, a replacement work desktop in a matter of hours by bringing in my laptop to be the data recovery source. Finally, most of these services also integrate a cloud backup storage as the ultimate backup (e.g., for regional disasters).

    Overall, I don’t think this is something that can be taken lightly, and thanks for bringing it to the forefront.

    BTW, I just discovered your podcast a few months ago, and it has quickly become one of my two favorite (along with Mixergy). Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Ricky – All wonderful ideas and thanks so much for adding your detailed thoughts on this important issue.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks much Ryan!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Yep, this happens way more than we realize. Thanks for the comment

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Lisa

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Leo

  • http://tapastic.com/series/Just-Sprite-Me BurningWood

    Hey, where and what is your insurance?

  • Rick Gray

    Great podcast. My first question to my friends when they tell me their computer crashed, “Is it backed up?” 99% of the answers are No. Thanks for the information to pass on to my friends, now they just need to “Do it”.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    We use The Hartford

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Rick

  • Tina

    This was a great, very informative, podcast! Thank you.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad you liked it Tina

  • http://twitter.com/PChiappa Pat Chiappa

    once again – a great piece from SME and if all the data security info wasn’t enough – the info on the coming My Kids Adventure! Can’t wait!

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  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Pat :)

  • http://pinstagramguy.com/ Ivo Madaleno (Pinstagram Guy)

    Michael, i saw your post on FB when you were robbed :-( , listened to this podcast a few days ago, great advices! I am very excited with the project torch – Mykids adventure, subscribed already hope can be part of it!

  • http://www.denisewakeman.com DeniseWakeman

    Listened to this podcast while walking today. Great advice and tips, Mike, and very sorry to hear about the break in. I appreciate all the info you shared.

  • http://www.pbwebdev.com.au/blog/ Peter Bui

    Sorry to hear the bad news too but good you could get back up and running so quickly.

    Thanks for the tips Michael, a few added points that some people might find useful, instead of using a backup USB harddrive, set up a network storage with a NAS with a few terabytes of storage. This way you can time machine an entire network of computers and have it separated from where you computer is in a ‘locked’ area or fireproof safe.

    Secondly, all of your working files should by synced on a service like Dropbox. If you’re using it already then upgrade, get that little more space and sync all the computers to the cloud. You don’t need to sync your computer operating system data, just your working files that you need to operate on a daily basis.

    I’ve setup my business so that I can work on any machine anywhere in the world when ever I need to. Makes working holidays easier.

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  • olive

    Great post, thanks so much Mike :)

  • m.vijayabhaskar

    nice information.thank you very much.

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  • http://www.heartsongfit.com/ Vickie Maris

    I always look forward to the next episode of your podcast! Thank you so much for covering this topic of data protection. I’ve kept back-ups, but have never been as thorough as you suggest in your tips. I have many of these in place now!! In fact, right after I listened to your podcast (and before I had the Find My iPhone app), my iPhone fell out of my pocket when I was climbing our hay mow ladder while doing chores. I was without it for about 12 hours until I retraced my steps, raked the loose hay and found where my llamas had covered up the trusty iPhone with hay! So, a happy ending. Now I can use my other devices to find it if it gets lost! I guess it was a “find the iPhone in the haystack” sort of emergency! :-) I’ve written a brief blog post to share a few of your tips and to encourage my health and fitness customers to subscribe to your podcast. I’m hoping they all become listeners if they are not already! Please keep up the great work Michael! Vickie Maris http://heartsongfit.com/data-protection-computer-theft/

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