How to improve your data security in 3 steps

How to protect your systems, your most sensitive data, avoid malware  infections and never have  a single minute of downtime due to malware.

  1. Run Ubuntu
  2. Get your services in the cloud
  3. Practice safe computing.

Run Ubuntu on desktops and operate production and development servers in the cloud (at slicehost.com – I don’t mind giving them the free publicity because they deserve it).  Don’t install anti-virus on any of your machines.   Your  servers will be regularly attacked by various pieces of automated software anyhow, but because you will  shut down unnecessary  services and  ports and update all the time – you won’t have unscheduled downtime.   Use strong passwords and change them on an irregular basis and you will be more secure than most.

Practice safe computing:

a) Don’t go to malware-infested sites and b) never insert a foreign USB into one of the machines  and c) patch regularly

What about anti-virus?

I really don’t understand all the hoopla about anti-virus,    If it’s a personal computer (PC) and you trashed it – what difference does it make if you took your eyes off your notebook on an airport conveyor belt and it got ripped off or didn’t bother to practice safe surfing and got attacked by Conficker?

Maybe the time has come for people to think about their PCs like people think about cash.

If you carry it around you have to protect it. If you lose cash – you can only blame yourself. If you got your pocket picked in the big city – you can only blame yourself.

The CEO of a client (a specialty brokerage with  about 100 employees) told me a few years ago that his security policy goes like this:

We have invested a lot of money in providing our employees with state of the art information technology. Your personal workstations have all the applications you need.   If you download software – you are fired.

Next – we’ll be buying metal helmets so that the CIA won’t be able to read our minds.

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