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The Computer Corner

COMPUTERS

By Charles Miller

 

Password Management Software: Part of a Good Disaster Plan

 

One of my clients recently suffered an unfortunate loss, the fallout from which was mitigated by her having a very good disaster plan. From my view as a tech person, what I saw was a textbook case of someone doing everything right.

My client knew and understood that she is always one crashed hard disk away from losing everything, everything, in this case, important documents, photographs, emails, and financial records. To ensure that some misfortune does not turn into an absolute catastrophe, a bit of preplanning is needed, and this is exactly what this lady had already done. That is why when one night she was robbed of her laptop computer, tablet, and smartphone, she already had a roadmap to guide the way toward recovering her digital life.

An important part of a good disaster plan is using a password manager that backs up your login credentials online. Password management software makes it convenient to use passwords every day, but more important is the fact that unlike a bunch of yellow post-it notes on the bottom of the laptop that was just stolen, your passwords stored online in the password manager software are still available to you by using another computer.

This good advice for passwords also goes for files. My client had performed regular backups of her computer and also made a second backup of important documents in “cloud storage.” Thanks to this excellent arrangement, my client lost almost no irreplaceable data files.

I was able to offer my client the loan of another laptop, but it was old and only proved to be just enough of a life preserver to serve until the purchase and delivery of a new computer could be arranged. When the new computer arrived, it took a few hours to restore programs and data files, after which things were almost back to normal.[MA1]

Because of good planning, my client was able to cope with a bad situation in the most efficient way I have ever witnessed in my professional career. The key elements to this planning are as follows:

One: Make backups of important data and store the backups offline so that they cannot be lost along with the computer. Scan copies of important documents such as passports, and include these in your backup. Backups can be stored locally, in the cloud, or both.

Two: Use a password manager to record your usernames and passwords so that all your passwords are not stored on the computer that could be lost. Password managers also have places to record credit card numbers and that phone number found on the back of the card. That number is one you will need to have any time you phone your bank to report a credit card stolen.

Nobody wants to go through the trauma of being robbed. Being prepared with a clear disaster plan is the best way to carry on after the loss.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.


[MA1]Tania, this could be cut for space.

 

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