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Many people first begin to think about backing up their computer data only after experiencing their hard drive crashing due to age, accident, virus or some sort of natural disaster. In quite a few instances, those documents, presentations, photos, music, tax records and similar files will be lost forever. If the device has been stolen, then there is absolute certainty any chance of data recovery is gone forever; unless you are lucky enough to have it returned and in functional condition.

Given the choices currently available to consumers to mitigate exposure data loss, there is really no reason to continue to take this unnecessary risk.

There are three basic and inexpensive solutions to assist in backing up your computer’s data. While all three offer good to excellent storage remedies, there are minor to medium downsides you should understand before making a decision.

· External Hard Drive

The external hard drive is a very basic and easy device to install, generally requiring only a USB connection to your computer and, many times, no additional software to load. The downside to using an external hard drive is that it is susceptible to theft, accident and physical elements similar to your computer. Also, some units are large and not very portable.

· USB Flash Drive

If you’ve never seen a flash drive, think of an object about the length of your thumb, flatter and not as thick that connects to the USB port on your computer. Today’s devices are capable of handling data storage for most every average computer, laptop or notebook in use. Like the external drive, the flash drive generally does not require the installation of any software. The user only needs to have the knowledge of knowing how to copy files from one drive to another. Perhaps the greatest risk of using this device is its extreme degree of portability. Care must be exercised to ensure it is not lost or stolen while transporting or storing.

· Online Services

From a security perspective, use of an online service to backup your hard drive data offers the strongest protection and mitigates risk down to nearly non-existent. In fact, online services provide access to your data from any Internet connection, so if your computer has been damaged due to accident, natural disaster, crashed or was stolen, your information is safe and is retrievable from another machine. The fee for this online service is extremely reasonable, especially given the level of protection it is providing. Downloading during the initial installation is slow and can take a few days to complete. Once data is loaded the process to upload new or corrected files is much quicker.

When it concerns computer hardware security, the general rules always apply — secure the computer with a cable or similar anti-theft deterrent device; safeguard any external devices; keep the computer in a safe location that is free from potentially hazardous elements or environment.

If you have any questions or comments regarding data storage devices or online services, please email:

In a corporate environment there are many times after a reactive internal or external compromise issue has been resolved, life tends to go back to normal after a short period has elapsed. Wrongdoers are dismissed or, in some extremely serious instances, they are arrested and the matter made public in the press or on the evening news. No one, from the CEO to the consumer wants or needs this type of publicity. Generally, however, people go back to the business of doing business, comfortable in the knowledge that the unfortunate matter has been successfully resolved and they will not have to worry about such matters again.

Or will they?

If your company was compromised due to some existing vulnerability in your business process, that gap has probably not been mitigated or reduced to any significant degree. How can I be so sure? Because most companies that fall victim to an internal or external irregularity deal exclusively with the instant matter at hand and then move on to routine business matters.

Many times, even excellent business leaders do not consider conducting some sort of “lessons learned” or, more specifically, conducting an overall fraud and business risk assessment. A professionally directed fraud and business risk assessment will produce an accurate and complete list of risks in rank order, methods to resolve or mitigate those risks, and most important to business needs, a process to track compliance efforts and measure positive return on investment.

RJM Risk Consultants, LLC, is experienced in this field and specializes in conducting professional, complete and cost-efficient fraud and business risk assessments. For more information, please call 425.279.3857 or email