Features Technology

How can you protect your personal data?

CLEMENT SINYANGWE
PREVIOUSLY I discussed business continuity plan, how important it is to business organisations and the stages involved in creating one. This discussion triggered a lot of ICT and business administrators’ reactions. Up to this moment i am still receiving a lot of queries about it, agony is being questioned by one of my bosses on whether my section has implemented one as they say we have to practise what we preach.
This week, I decided to discuss a similar issue though with a shift from the corporate perspective to a personal one. I was prompted to take on this issue after noticing how people, especially students, cry over data loss after a lengthy duration of their inputs on work such as dissertations or theses.
With accorded permission, let me give a case of my two colleagues, My big sister Mable Kabisa, who almost lost the data she’s worked for over a long period of time including her dissertation due to be presented in a shortest period of time to come. My sister, who is a BBC (Born before computers) as people put it, always thought she was safe with all her business and academic data being stored just on her laptop, which she treasured and moved with where ever she went.
It was one sad day when thieves broke into her car which was nicely parked and managed to go away with her laptop. luckily enough for her dissertation, she had something in her mail box which she sent to the supervisor, which worked as a backup.
The other colleague is Edwin Mwape Mpundu, who came to my office two days ago panicking and sweating that his laptop had crashed and that he had no backup at all.
He wanted me as an expert to retrieve his lost data, or he had to re-start re-doing his dissertation which has to be presented in the next few weeks. Luckily enough, I managed to work around his issue and immediately he made a backup.
I always advise people that data protection is key and should be respected. Usually people get comfortable by just saving and storing data on the PC or laptop. we never think of any eventualities such as the ones happened to my two colleagues.
It is when they happen that we rush to the ICT experts for help, but why allow situations to be worse before we take precautions? It is very easy to prevent data loss, especially at a personal level.
My surprise is people can have flash disks, external hard drives, compact disks and even email boxes where they can store data but that never happens. on the other hand, some may prefer working on any of the external storage devices I have mentioned without leaving a copy on their PC.
Let me offer all of those colleagues who are culprits. Please ensure that you develop a habit of at least making a minimum of three (03) backups.
I remember our early days in ICT’s when we were taught of the three types of backups called ‘grandfather’, ‘father’ and ‘son’ backups. This is as simple as it sounds; the grandfather is the main backup, and in a case where he dies, the father takes over as a second backup and when he also dies, the son works as a third backup.
The ‘son’ then gives birth to a child and becomes a ‘father’ and eventually a ‘grandfather’, the cycle keeps repeating.  And please, never ever keep these backups in one place or you risk losing all of them at once which defeats the purpose. It is advisable to keep some of the work on you work PC, another one on your laptop and the third on any of your external storage devices. Nowadays, there is even drop box, which is free. All you need is internet access then create an account and store your data which can be accessed from anywhere.
Each time you finish working on anything on your computer, please ensure that you make these backups to avoid data loss. I know in most cases we feel lazy and usually say it’s fine I will do some backups tomorrow but we never realise that your laptop can crash anytime without giving you any sign or worse off being stolen, your house or office can get fire and have all your things, including your backups destroyed. now what happens if you keep your data on a single PC or all your backups in the same place? Guess we all know the answer to that question.
I know the backing-up process sounds very tedious but try to think of the consequences that might come from loss of data. Those of you who have experienced data loss before like my two colleagues mentioned earlier can attest to this.
But if you still feel it is better keeping your data on one PC, don’t say i never warned you and remember, i will gladly wait to help you on a cost. And it’s not cheap retrieving data.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail Limited Deputy ICT Manager.

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