Backups (two or more copies is the rule)

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“Data that you don’t have at least two (maybe more) copies of is data you don’t care about.”

Got a phone full of pictures and videos? What happens if the phone dies or gets full? What about your computer? All those memories are just sitting there, and most people seem to think they’ll just stay there forever. Guess what? They won’t. Hard drives fail. Phones die or get dropped. Once it happens, it’s too late to worry about what was on there. It’s gone. Even if you might get it back, it will cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to even try, and I don’t know anyone that can afford that. I’ve had too many customers lose important information and memories because they simply didn’t take the proper precautions.

There are lots of ways to keep your data safe, and depending on your needs, they may be free! Cloud services like Google Photos, Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox and many others offer a limited amount of space at no charge. For many people, it’s enough. For larger amounts of data, a modest cost per month might be necessary. 

Manual backups on thumb drives, external drives, or CDs/DVDs (outdated) is time consuming and painful, along with needing to be checked periodically and taken with you when you leave the house. Thinks about it…if the house burns down, you lose the original AND the backup. If your stuff is stolen, you lose the original AND the backup. Cloud services are almost fully automatic and can take care of your computers and phones with no problem. You can access your data anywhere, anytime as long as you have internet access, AND, it won’t be stolen or lost in a disaster. Google Photos for your pictures (free), and OneDrive for everything else (minimal possible cost), are my suggested options.

Together, we can find a backup solution that works for you…call for an appointment today! 704-516-4282

Good Passwords you CAN Remember!

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In more than 10 years of doing what I do, I’ve never met more than a handful of people who used good passwords. I wish I could make every person understand how incredibly important this is. Bad passwords are how you get hacked, get your identity stolen, and much more. Here are three simple rules:

  • If your password has readable words in it, it’s bad. Example: prettyflowers123 is a TERRIBLE password. Your password MUST be random numbers (upper and lower case, letters, and symbols to be of any protection at all.
  • The excuse of “But I can’t remember hard passwords” won’t save you when you get hacked. You have to try, and I’m going to give you some tricks to help you.
  • Never use the same password for multiple things.

Okay, that’s the negative part. Now let’s talk about how to fix the problem you already have. Take the example I gave earlier (prettyflowers123). Now look at this: Pr3ttyfl0wers123!. Before you panic, take a breath. It’s the same password, but with some very creative substitutions. I bet if you look closely, you’ll see the words are still in there. This is why you CAN remember complex passwords, regardless of your age! I’m going to give you my list of substitutions, but you can always use your own. All you have to remember are the substitutions. Oh, and when you hand-write these, they look even more like the original words. If you keep a written record of passwords, write the “normal” version in your book, but make the substitutions when you use it. That way, no one who gets your cheat sheet gets the actual password. Never, ever, keep a written copy of your passwords that can be used by the person who finds it! If you’re going to write them down, at least write them backwards…do SOMETHING to mask them.

Okay, why these particular substitutions? Well, let’s look at a few. 3 looks like a capital E backwards, the + symbol looks like a t. 1 looks like a lower case L. 0 and O…well, that’s obvious. I’m including a full table of some common ones below. If you don’t understand this concept, set up a time with me and we’ll have a tutoring session. I can’t stress how important this is.

Password managers are another great option. You only have to remember one master password and the others are stored by an online service. This is what I do with my own passwords. Most charge a small annual fee for multiple computers, but are free if you only use them on one device. Take a look at LastPass and DashLane. Both are good password managers.

Suggested Substitutions for Passwords

E or e – use 3
G or g – use 9
H or h – use 4
I or i – use !
L or l – use 1
O or o – use 0
Q or q – use 9
S or s – use 5
T or t – use +
W or w – use vv (two v’s)
X or x – use *
Z or z – use 2