So I had my laptop and bag stolen in a restaurant last week. It is amazing what a trauma that turns out to be – especially when you discover that your clever system to take back-up using Windows Live Sync stopped working 2 months ago.
The amount of ones life now reliant upon what is stored on a computer becomes clear when it is gone. So plenty of time for regret and frustration at so much data lost. So here are a few “notes to self” about what I need to do properly on my next bag full of technology:
- Set power on passwords on all devices (laptop, cellphone, pda, etc.)
- Set a password for Outlook personal folders
- Set Encrypt folders for this user in Windows (user accounts admin)
- Ensure you have windows set to user account and password – not simply direct access without a password. (I had this set up, which will slow someone down or foil the casual thief, but without step 3 (above) it’s possible to get around this and access your data.
- Take regular back-up’s and CHECK THAT THEY WORKED! I was confident that all was well with my data strategy till I got home to find that the PC that was linked to my laptop by Windows Live Sync had not actually succeeded in syncing since April. I still don’t know why this failed – it was working so well! p.s. Outlook .pst files don’t do well on Live Sync – so find another way to copy them.
- Don’t store passwords on your computer. (I don’t, but see note 7, below).
- Change all your passwords if you do lose your computer. Remember that your browser probably saves most passwords to web-sites and the like, that Outlook and other email programs store your email account details.
My Nokia E71 (not in the bag that was stolen, fortunately) has some neat security features BTW, including a remote lock option. If you lose the phone, simply text it with the remote lock code – and then no one can use it without the unlock code.
Now going to spend the rest of the day following my own advice on all the other devices I own.