Published November 9, 2012
By Jeff Murphy, UB Security Manager, email@example.com
Today, you hold your life literally in the palm of your
hand—on your phone, tablet, or laptop. While this makes your
life easier, it also presents problems. What happens when your
devices are lost or broken? What about when you upgrade? How do you
safely delete all of your information off an old device?
While it may not seem simple, there’s three things to keep
in mind: back up your data regularly, have the ability to restore
it when needed, and be able to delete it when you upgrade to a new
Backing Up and Restoring
Depending upon the type of device, it may be easy, or
not-so-easy, to back up your data. On a typical, newer smartphone,
you’ll be asked if you want to backup using a cloud service.
If you get a replacement phone, you’ll be asked to restore a
previous backup. Tablets generally work the same way. Most laptop
operating systems, however, don't come with a backup application
that is as easily (or cheaply) configured: you may have to install
your own cloud back-up solution (such as CARBONITE or CRASHPLAN),
or you may need to plug in an external drive (for example, Apple's
Time Machine or Windows Backup). While you're thinking about
backing up, don't forget about that thumbdrive on which
you’re carrying important files- back it up too!
An often overlooked task is properly erasing your device when
you’re going to upgrade it. You might be tempted to just
recycle the phone or laptop…but don’t! Most phones and
tablets have a built-in erase function, available under their
"Settings" menu. That option will safely, and completely, destroy
the phone's contents. Be sure to do that before recycling or
selling your phone.
Even more important is erasing a laptop, which you may use to do
all of your banking. Generally, a laptop’s operating system
won't allow you to erase the drive that it’s running on.
Simply dragging your files into the trash can and selecting "empty
trash" isn’t good enough either. Be sure to use a program
like "Darik's Boot and Nuke" (dban.org) to erase the computer’s
contents. This type of program can be burned to a CD. Simply reboot
your computer using that CD and it will erase your computer
completely. Only then can you safely recycle that old device.