There are an increasing number of services offering ‘cloud storage’ where you can upload documents, photos, videos and other files to a website to share with others or to act as a backup copy. These files can then be accessed from any location or any type of device (laptop, mobile phone, tablet etc.).

Once you have registered for an account you typically create a folder on your computer and every file you place in that folder is copied to the servers of the storage provider. Any changes made to these files are automatically copied across and immediately accessible from other devices you may have. Most services offer a limited service for free with paid-for versions allowing greater or even unlimited storage space.

The data you store on your device may be invaluable and irreplaceable and there are significant risks, such as hardware failure, accidental deletion, theft, accidental damage, virus or other malware infections or corruption.

The data on your computer could include your documents, photos, music, video and contacts – as well as your software. Modern computer hard drives can hold massive volumes of data, making the consequences of loss through any of the above potentially disastrous. The impact could be inconvenient, stressful, time consuming and expensive.

Regular backups can ensure that you have more than one copy of your data.

With shops, hotels, shopping malls, airports, and many other locations offering their customers free access to public Wi-Fi, it’s a convenient way to check your emails, catch up on social networking, or surf the web when you’re out and about. However, cybercriminals will often spy on public Wi-Fi networks and intercept data that is transferred across the link. In this way, the criminal can access users’ banking credentials, account passwords, and other valuable information.

Public computers in libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and copy shops can be safe if you follow a few guidelines when you use them.

The default settings on most web browsers are designed to be secure. Additional precautions may be necessary to protect your privacy and enhance security.

A firewall acts as a barrier between your Device and the Internet. Firewalls not only prevent unauthorized access to your Device or network, they also hide your device from view on the Internet.

There are two different types of firewalls: software based and hardware based. Software based firewalls run in the background of your computer or device; and hardware based firewalls can reside on your network between the modem and devices.

Hardware based firewalls, such as those on your router, offer a bit more advantage than software based. 

All devices, including computers, laptops, tables and phones etc., use an underlying operating system (OS) to manage the applications and tasks, interface with the hardware and a range of other functions. Periodically, the OS requires updates, upgrades or patches to resolve any security issues that are discovered, improve functionality, or address any bugs or flaws with earlier releases.

Software applications or programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Readers, various Web Browsers, Antivirus, and Firewalls etc. also require updates or patches occasionally.

Most of the time, the device should be able to connect to the internet to download updates, but there may be cases where updates can be done from a Compact Disc, USB, or other external storage media.

Setting a password on your mobile device, tablet or computer is the first line of defence so that only you can access the important data that they contain. It is the equivalent of locking the doors of your home or car when you leave. Similarly, your device contains a vast amount of personal information that you should keep safe: email and telephone contacts, files, bookmarked sites, passwords etc. If this information falls into the wrong hands, a simple device password can help to keep your sensitive data private.

Refer to the support manual for your device on how to activate the password.

It is also important to choose a strong password.