Basic Physical Security

Protecting your Computer

To protect your computer against theft or unauthorized physical access to your data:

  • Lock down your PC or use an alarm system.
  • Consider installing access control software.

Safeguarding your Data

To safeguard your computer and protect your data against damage or loss due to power outages or sudden fluctuations of power:

  • Use a power bar or other similar equipment with surge protection.
  • If you experience static electricity problems where you use your computer, install an anti-static device such as an anti-static mat.
  • Save your work frequently.
  • Backup regularly (at least once a week).
  • Store all of backup copies of your data in a secure place - ideally, far away from your computer or off-site. Safe storage places include locking cabinets or data safes, which are designed to protect portable storage media against destruction or damage from heat, particles and humidity.

Backing-up Your System

The more frequently you back up, the more information you will be able to recover if something happens to your computer. Given the little time and effort required, backing up your system really is cheap insurance.

Most backup systems offer "full" and "incremental" backups. A full backup takes a lot of time, but it is the shortest process if you have to completely re-install your system. Incremental backups are fast, but if you need to recover the entire system, you will need to recover the last full backup and all the incremental backups.

We recommend running an occasional full backup and frequent Incremental backups to provide the best combination of protection and speed.

Portable Storage Media Security Considerations

  • Make sure any portable storage media (such as CDs, USB memory keys or portable hard drives) you use are free of computer viruses.
  • Use a virus scan program before using portable storage media on your PC, especially if you are connected to a Local Area Network.
  • Don't leave portable storage media lying around. When you are finished with them, lock them away.
  • Remove all sensitive or confidential data from portable storage media before re-using or discarding them.
  • Don't distribute files on portable storage media that had sensitive information previously written to them.
  • Shred sensitive paper copies of data, grades, userlists, programs, and network diagrams before discarding.