We all value our precious files. Well, maybe not the files exactly, but what they contain: images of our family and friends and our important documents. According to a survey completed by F-Secure ** 93 % of respondents agreed that preventing the loss of personal content is very important. Still we tend to think that only other people will ever have to deal with losing files.
So why worry? I didn’t, not until my home laptop started to crash. I was sure my unfinished thesis work and all the pictures of my loved ones were gone for good. I just wished I had been smarter and backed up my personal files. But I was lucky.
I was able to start my computer one more time and I copied all most of my files to a new external device. That’s the most common way to backup your files; according to another F-Secure survey* 54.4% people backup their important files to external hard drives.
External hard-drives may be good for transporting files but they aren’t the most reliable backup. My house could be robbed or I could lose my device. Even though unexpected things tend to happen to only other people, the other person could be you.
My good friends recently learned this lesson the hard way. One night they woke up to a sound of fire alarm and flames roaring inside their home. They had less than one minute to get out—no time to take anything with them other than their loved ones. Their house was gone for good. So were all of their belongings.
Later, I asked my friend what she misses most from that lost house. The answer was simple: pictures. Especially pictures of her child’s first year, the first steps and first birthday party. These memories were all in digital format, but not shared nor stored anywhere. The computer went up with the house.
Pictures, videos, the work you’ve done–you value them all. But you value them most when they are gone.
You should act before anything happens to you. We at F-Secure are very pleased to announce an effortless way to make backups and also share content with our new F-Secure Online Backup. It automatically makes backup copies of pictures, music and other important content saved on your computer and stores these backups on our secure servers.
You can get F-Secure Online Backup now at or through our global operator partners.
* F-Secure broadband subscriber survey, April 2011 (Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, 3,000 respondents in total).
** The survey was carried out by F-Secure via SurveyGizmo during April 2011. A total of 609 respondents were solicited from around the globe through F-Secure’s Safe and Savvy blog.
If you like sailing and tall ships, I can recommend this podcast about Pam Bitterman’s book Sailing to the far horizon. It’s a great story about the last years of the community-operated ship Sofia, covering both a lot of happy sailing and the ship’s sad end in the early eighties. But this is not about hippies on a ship, it’s about how we record and remember our lives. In the podcast Pam tells us how the book was made possible by her parents saving her letters home. Perhaps they had a hunch that this story will be written down one day. Going on to state that e-mails and phone calls wouldn’t have been saved that way. That’s a very interesting point that should make us think. At least it made me think about what we will remember about our lives in, say, twenty years? We collect more info about what we are doing than ever before. We shoot digital pictures all the time and post status updates on Facebook. We are telling the world where we are, what we are doing and what we feel. Maybe in a way that is shallower than letters home, but we sample our lives at a very granular rate. The real question is however how persistent this data is? If we later realize we have experienced something unique enough to write a book about, have our digital life left enough traces to support us? Pam wrote the book about Sofia some twenty years later. A twenty year old paper is still young, but that’s an eternity in the digital world. Will you still be on the same social media service? Do you still have the same account or have you lost it. Does the service even exist? And what about your e-mails, have you saved them? How are your digital photos archived? You may even have cleaned up yourself to fit everything into a cheaper cloud account. Here’s something to keep in mind about retaining your digital life. Realize the value of your personal records. You may fail to see the value in single Facebook posts, but they may still form a valuable wholeness. If you save it you can choose to use it or not in the future. If you lose it you have no choice. Make sure you don’t lose access to your mail, social media and cloud storage accounts. That would force you to start fresh, which usually means data loss. Always register a secondary mail address in the services. That will help you recover if you forget the password. Use a password manager to avoid losing the password in the first place. Redundancy is your friend. Do not store important data in a single location. The ideal strategy is to store your files both on a local computer and in a cloud account. It provides redundancy and also stores data in several geographically separated locations. This is easy with younited because you can set it to automatically back up selected folders. Mail accounts have limited capacity and you can’t keep stuff forever. Don’t delete your correspondence. Check your mail client instead for a function that archives your mail to local storage. Check your social media service for a way to download a copy of your stuff. In Facebook you can currently find this function under Settings / General. It’s good to do this regularly, and you should at least do it if you plan to close your account and go elsewhere. Migrate your data when switching to a new computer or another cloud service. It might be tricky and take some time, but it is worth it. Do not see it as a great opportunity to start fresh and get rid of "old junk". If you are somewhat serious about digital photography, you should get familiar with DAM. That means Digital Asset Management. This book is a good start. Pam did not have a book in mind when she crossed the Pacific. But she was lucky and her parents helped her retain the memories. You will not be that lucky. Don’t expect your friends on Facebook to archive posts for you, you have to do it yourself. You may not think you’ll ever need the stuff, just like Pam couldn’t see the book coming when onboard Sofia. But you never know what plans the future has for you. When you least expect it, you might find yourself in a developing adventure. Make yourself a favor and don’t lose any digital memories. Safe surfing, Micke
Its summer and most of us are active. We are out having fun, attending events and going to new places. Its high season for losing things, like your smartphone for example. I’m not going to repeat the story about tracking services that can lock, wipe and locate your lost phone. That has already been covered. I’m also not going to talk about the black market for stolen phones, and the hilarious cases related to that. But I have started to think about how to manage if I lost my smartphone when away from home. How to recover and how to manage the situation without ruining the holiday? Here’s some of the problems that you may face if the phone is lost. You lose access to your contact register. At a time when you probably need some of the phone numbers badly. You may lose access to all your important communication channels at once, phone calls, mails, chat etc. You can’t look things up on the net and get help that way. You may have stored crucial info in the phone, like the address of your next hotel or electronic tickets. You lose your navigator that could take you where you need to go. Are you using two-factor authentication? That’s a good idea, but it makes your phone even more critical. You need it when logging in from a new location, like a hotel or an Internet cafe for example. And last but not least. Facebook!!! Hmm, yes. We seem to be quite dependent on these small gadgets. Sometimes I wish we could turn back the clock. Trash the gadgets, relax and let the journeys take weeks rather than hours. And ask strangers on the street instead of looking for directions in Google. But I guess that’s impossible so we have to accept that our smartphones are critical devices and mitigate the risk instead. Most systems that attempt to protect owners of lost devices focus on locating misplaced phones, protecting your privacy by wiping content or making the device less attractive for thieves by locking it. None of these systems are of any help when you need the services that the phone used to provide. One very old method to secure systems is redundancy, ie. have a spare if the primary fails. Maybe we have reached the point where we need two personal smartphones? One primary phone and an emergency backup phone. How would that work? If you have upgraded to a newer model, you may have the old phone lying around. And there’s already cheap smartphones on the market. So getting the spare phone do not need to be expensive. Then you have to sign up for a subscription. Choose a plan with low or zero monthly fee, a limited data plan and higher fees for the calls. That makes the cost (close to) zero when the backup phone is unused. Next you attach this phone to all your critical accounts and cloud services, like mail, Facebook etc. The synchronization features will make sure that you see your latest data when opening it in an emergency. And finally, if you use two-factor authentication you have to add the number of this phone to the services you use. Now you can turn off the phone and make sure that you can get to it when needed. If you don’t carry it with you, make sure it’s in your car, luggage or some other handy place. And make sure its battery is charged! It’s of course also good if the same charger fits both your ordinary phone and the backup. Alternative strategies could be to use family members’ phones as backup. You can register their phone numbers in your cloud services to be used for two-factor authentication or account recovery. In this case you must make sure that you remember the login and password for all your services, as you need to connect a family member’s phone to your accounts while on the road. Another strategy would be to have one common backup phone for the whole family. Just remember that this becomes a privacy problem if you connect it to all the personal accounts. Anyone who use the phone could read the others mail, make funny posts in Facebook etc. And finally. This backup phone strategy relies heavily on the benefits of cloud services. Most modern smartphones are really built to make utilization of the cloud easy. All your contacts, mails, photos and documents are available on some server, and that’s why the device really is insignificant. You can replace it and have all your data available in minutes. The downside of this is privacy. Anyone who is using, or planning to start using cloud services should do some reading first. I have written an article about this related to the PRISM affair. I’m not saying that you should avoid them, just that there is a hidden downside that you should be aware of. Safe surfing, Micke
The Rapid Expansion of the Cloud Space infographic From gigabytes to terabytes to petabytes, the cloud is expanding and F-Secure is a leader in with 5 data centers on 3 continents. We secure content for millions of customers around the globe and our cloud is expanding every minute of every day. We'll be at the 2013 GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 25 through 28 to show off all of our solutions including F-Secure Content Anywhere, our flagship solution for mobile and broadband operators. F-Secure’s Personal Content Cloud enables consumers to store, sync, access and share their photos, videos, documents and other files safely anywhere, from any device. 68% of consumers are concerned about third parties gaining access to their content due to vulnerabilities in cloud storage providers’ technology, and 42% feel they are losing control of their content.* That's why over 100 operators around the world turn to F-Secure for security and content cloud solutions. They know they with us customers private content stays private and protected. The content we store is scanned only for malware -- never for marketing analytics and profiling. We believe that by providing the safest personal cloud possible, F-Secure will help millions more of the 61% of broadband users who looking forward to being able to store, sync, access and share their digital lives through the cloud. Cheers, Sandra *The F-Secure broadband survey covered web interviews of 6,400 broadband subscribers aged 20–60 years from 14 countries: France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, USA, Canada, Brazil, India and Japan. The survey was completed by GfK, 25 May–1 June 2012.