Monday, April 16, 2018
Backing Up Your Rented Computer

Renting computers is a great way to supply your business with the desktops or laptops it needs at a fraction of the cost of buying them. Before you turn in the rentals for an upgrade, or simply want to return them because they’re no longer needed, you’ll want to be sure that all your business files and applications are backed up and the data wiped off the rental’s hard drive.

The importance of backing up your rental computer can’t be over-stressed. For businesses, it’s more than just inconvenient if vital documents are lost due to a computer crashing or malware.

There are three main ways to back up your rental computer. They are:

CDs and DVDs

Using CDs or DVDs are a common way to back up computer data. It’s effective and inexpensive, however, you may need several disks to back up all your files and applications. This method can also be time-consuming, as you must select individual files to download and you’ll need to label each disc as to the content it contains so that retrieving specific data when you need it won’t be a problem.

External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is one of the best ways to back up the data on a rental computer and it’s an inexpensive and easy option. All you need do is to connect the external hard drive to one of the computer’s ports and transfer all your files to it.

Once that’s done, you can disconnect the external drive and store it in a safe place or keep it connected to the computer and continuing filing all your business documents and projects directly to the external drive. That way, if the rental computer crashes or you simply want to switch to a new computer, nothing will be lost and there will be no need to wipe the rental’s hard drive. You’ll only need to connect the external drive to a new computer and continue with business as usual.

Secure Online Server

Another good way to secure your data is to use an online data storage service, such as the cloud. Once a connection between the computer and the server is established, you can initiate the upload.

For a relatively small amount of data, one of the free storage sites may be enough. However, for larger amounts of information, a fee-based data storage site is a better option. Your access credentials will allow you to connect with your data any time and from any computer with an internet connection.

Risk Factors

Many risk factors can threaten your data, among them:

  • Malware
  • Theft
  • Human error
  • Physical damage
  • Sudden failure

Malware

Malware is a term used to describe a range of malicious programs that includes viruses, spyware and adware, any one of which can threaten your computer and data. Data can be stolen, deleted or rendered inaccessible, depending on the severity of the infection. Your entire computer could even become unusable. Data backup will let you safeguard important business files from such an eventuality.

Theft

If you’re computer is ever stolen, there’s no hope of ever retrieving your data. Regularly backing up your files to the cloud or an external hard drive will protect them.

Human Error

Loss of data isn’t always caused by outside sources. We’re all prone to making mistakes and accidently deleting or changing an important file can happen. Having a backup of your files can save them from human error.

Physical Damage

Computers are delicate machines. Dropping a laptop can damage it and make retrieving files impossible. Even simple wear and tear over time can cause it to stop working. In case of an accident, you can transfer your files to a new computer or laptop, so long as they’ve been backed up.

Sudden Disastrous Failure

A computer can suddenly stop working at any time and for seemingly no reason. The only way to protect your data from something you had no way of predicting, is to back it up using the method of your choice.

Back Up Every Few Days

Whatever data storage option you choose, it’s important to back up your files every few days during the rental period. That way you won’t be scrambling to back everything up at the last minute before returning the rental computer. Important files could be overlooked in the rush.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
An open computer with wires boards being fixed.

Few computer problems are more vexing than when your computer won’t even start. Often there are hardly any clues and too many reasons why a computer won’t turn on. Add to that the fear that something expensive needs to be replaced and you may rightly feel stressed.

Most people fear that all of their data is gone forever when their computer won’t start. A piece of hardware may have failed or be causing a problem but that hardware isn’t usually with the hard drive, the part of your computer that stores your files. Your music, documents, emails and videos are more than likely safe, if unavailable at the moment.

There’s a good chance you can figure out what the problem is and get your computer up and running again. The following troubleshooting guide applies to all PC devices and may help you to fix a computer that won’t turn on.

Fixes for No Sign of Power

If your computer won’t turn on and shows no sign at all of receiving power, (fans, lights), it’s rarely a worst case scenario. Try these steps:

  • Make sure you’ve turned on every power switch and power button
  • Check for disconnected power cable connections
  • Plug your computer directly into the wall, removing any power strips, battery backups or other distribution devices between the computer and the wall outlet
  • Plug a lamp into the wall outlet you use for your computer to verify that the outlet is indeed working
  • If you’re using a desktop, check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly. If the input voltage for the power supply unit doesn’t match the correct setting for your country, the computer may not power on at all
  • For a tablet or laptop, remove the main battery to see if it will run without it. If it does, you need to replace the battery
  • Check the power receptacle on the laptop or tablet for broken or bent pins and bits of debris that might be preventing it from getting power. You may need the services of a professional to fix anything more that’s wrong with the receptacle
  • Replace the computer’s power cable or AC adapter – a common reason why tablets and laptops won’t turn on. This isn’t a common problem with a desktop but it does happen
  • If your computer is more than a few years old, you may need to replace the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) It’s a battery-powered chip that provides start up information like Hardware settings and costs very little to replace
  • The power button may not be properly connected to the motherboard
  • In most cases, related to a desktop that’s not receiving power, a faulty power supply is to blame. It will need to be tested and replaced, if necessary. However, an ozone smell or very high-pitched noise in combination with no power at all is a sure sign that the power supply is bad. Unplug the computer immediately.+50

Computer Turns on Then Shuts Off

If your computer is turning itself off before the operating system loads, it may be anything from an electrical short to a serious hardware issue. Try these steps:

  • Check to see that the power supply voltage switch is set correctly (see above)
  • Inspect the inside of your computer for issues that can cause shorting. It’s very important not to miss a simple electrical short or you might replace costly hardware unnecessarily
  • Test your power supply
  • If the power button on the front of your computer's case is shorting out or even just sticking, replace it
  • Reseat all internal data and power cable, memory modules and any expansion cards. (Reseating means to unplug or remove something and then plug it back in or reinstall it) Although the keyboard and mouse are rarely the problem, unplug and reattach them as well.
  • Start the computer with essential hardware only to see if it stays on. If it does, reinstall each piece of nonessential hardware, one component at a time and test to see if your computer comes on to see what hardware is causing the problem
  • If your computer continues to turn itself off with nothing but essential PC hardware installed, a POST (Power On Self-Test) card will help identify which piece of remaining hardware is to blame.

PC Comes on but Nothing Happens

If your PC comes on but you don’t see anything on the monitor, try these easy troubleshooting steps:

  • Make sure the monitor is turned on
  • Check for disconnected or loose monitor power or data cable connections
  • Make sure that your computer is coming on from a completely powered-off state
  • Turn the monitor’s brightness and contrast settings all the way up
  • If it still doesn’t work, get help!

The Blue Screen of Death

A STOP error is when your computer starts to load Windows but suddenly stops and displays a blue screen with information on it. It’s more commonly referred to as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and is a common reason why a computer won’t turn on.

  • If you just made a change to the computer, such as installing a new program, there’s a good chance that this change caused the BSOD
  • Undo the change using Last Known Good Configuration or System Restore, or Roll Back the device drive to a version prior to the update
  • Scan for viruses
  • Ask a techy friend for help
Monday, March 21, 2016
Download Free

Today’s corporate world is highly dependent on technology.  If you want to communicate and accomplish tasks swiftly, you need the right tools.  Many companies lease large quantities of technological hardware to stay up to date. 

In addition to the right hardware, you need the programs that will take your business to higher levels.  Programs such as these can be costly, but free alternatives are always emerging.  These are some of the most popular free online or web app programs for business. 

  1. Yammer
    Yammer is an online networking program similar to Facebook, but specifically geared toward group communication and project management in business.  With Yammer, you can assign roles and groups, keeping task information private or public. 
    Yammer also comes with an easily edited word, excel, and “notes” platform which makes document uploading, sharing and altering easy and efficient.  Yammer is user friendly and does not have a lot of fancy graphics, so you can easily access and utilize Yammer on your Smartphone, laptop, PC or tablet.
  2.  Fargo
    Fargo is a professional outlining tool, which connects to your dropbox account to automatically update and save your work.  It’s popular in the business world for outlining ideas, to do lists, and projects.  Many professionals also use the tool to lay out major press releases, training guides, and client or colleague communication.
  3.  Google Docs
    Google Documents is a popular free program for professionals.  You can access Google Docs from most devices, but a tablet, PC or laptop work best.  Google Documents allows you to share documents with multiple users, and allows each user invited to edit the document for easy and fast sharing.  You must have a google account to manage Google Documents, but anyone you invite can access and edit the documents.
  4. Planning Pod
    For the company that hosts or plans large events, this online software is easy to use and comes with a free trial to get you started.  Based on professional event planning software, Planning Pod is accessible from any device and helps organize professional level events, including trade shows, conferences, informational presentations, and large meetings or conventions.
  5. Boomerang
    Boomerang is a great web based application for CEOs or busy business professionals who work constantly.  This application is easiest to use on a PC, laptop, or tablet.  Boomerang allows you to schedule your emails so that they send at an optimum time. 
    So, if you’re working all hours of the night, or have international clients, you can draft the email you wish to send and schedule its release for an appropriate time.  This eliminates the need to revisit the same task multiple times, and allows you to work when you have the task fresh in your mind.
  6. Trello
    Trello is known as the free alternative to BaseCamp, and is a project management tool that allows executives or managers to monitor their employees’ progress.  Users of this program can assign tasks, update progress, and mark an assignment as completed.  You can also create extensive to do lists based on each project.  In addition, Trello has a fantastic blog which instructs users how to make the most of the program.
  7. MailChimp
    MailChimp is a free email blast tool, where you can design your own email template and send the email to multiple recipients.  This tool is very useful in marketing for smaller businesses, as it’s easy to use editor can help create professional emails for no cost. 
    You can store multiple lists according to which group you are targeting with your message.  Using a PC or laptop to design your emails is recommended, but MailChimp templates have viewing compatibility with smartphones, iphones, tablets and computers.
  8. GoTo Meeting
    GoTo Meeting is a free web conference tool for conference calls.  Many professionals use GoTo Meeting for conference calls, because you can hold as many meetings as you need to at no charge.  The software is compatible with Apple and PC devices, and can be accessed for attendance through laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  9.  TurboCash
    As the free alternative to QuickBooks, TurboCash helps smaller businesses with their accounting needs.  You can reconcile accounts and manage balances.  This is another program that is highly beneficial to professionals who work or have clientele internationally, since the program can be configured for different currencies.

Having access to the programs that will help your company grow and thrive can make all the difference in your company and your bottom line.  Companies large and small are now using free online programs and web apps to make their business more efficient.

Using free programs can mean the difference of thousands of dollars per year, and beginning with free programs can open the door for upgrades in the future.  Keep your employees equipped with the latest in technological hardware to make the most of these programs.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Google Chrome Logo

Since its initial release in September 2008, Google Chrome has built up a huge user base around the world. As per StatCounter data, this freeware web browser had a 58% share in web browser usage worldwide as of December 2015. This makes it the most-used web browser globally. What is even more remarkable about the Google Chrome journey is that it now comes with thousands (one estimate says there are more than 50,000) of extensions, most of which can be synced not just with the desktop and laptop computers but also with mobile devices.

Easily downloadable from the Chrome Web Store, the vast majority of the extensions are free. But it would pay to be cautious about what you download since these extensions, like all apps, tend to slow down the system. Here is a list of 10 of the best and most useful Google Chrome extensions for you to try out.

OneTab

This is ideal for those who want different web pages opening through different links without the hassle of managing multiple tabs. OneTab, as the name suggests, compresses all the open tabs into one tab. What makes this a useful extension is that the single compressed tab comes with the facility to enable easy reference to all the original tabs. The web pages and URLs can also be easily shared as this extension facilitates easy export of the tabs into a comprehensive list of the links.

TabCloud
Talking of tabs, there’s another Google Chrome extension called TabCloud, which helps easy saving of open tabs and their import from one desktop to another. It’s managed simply by saving the open tabs to the cloud and then opening one or all of them, as required, on to another desktop. There are a host of other features for ease of convenience in the use of TabCloud.

Boomerang
This one takes the basic functions of Gmail to a new level. With this extension, one can schedule sending of a message or even set up recurring email messages. It also helps in the postponement of emails; that is easily done by pushing an email out of the inbox and setting it to return at a specific time. For subscribers, this service comes with unlimited message credits while the free service allows scheduling of 10 messages a month.

Google Dictionary
Speed is of essence, especially in the midst of urgent work. The Google Dictionary extension makes it easier and faster to find the meaning of a new word, at the click of a button and without opening new links or tabs.

Video Stream
With this extension at hand, there’s no need to use complicated media server software to stream videos directly from the computer to the Chromecast or Android TV. An excellent feature of Video Stream is that it is compatible with a large variety of video formats at full resolution. It also supports subtitles.

Any.do
For the busy professionals of the day, especially CEOs trying to multi-task a large number of things, Any.do is an ideal partner. It’s a cross-platform that enables syncing of tasks and checklists from all desktops and devices. The result: there is just one comprehensive list of things to do, and of reminders which can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

LastPass
This free password manager is a welcome solution for any user seeking a short-cut to remembering the long list of passwords needed for myriad websites. It not only helps remember the passwords but in fact enables the generation of new secure passwords of all the websites that one wants to track.

Just Not Sorry
Now this one is just perfect for busy professionals who want every email from their account to make an impression. It functions by flagging words and phrases which are likely to dilute, if not negate, the impact of the communication.

ColorZilla
A computer system is as much about good designs as it is about good content. So if there’s Just Not Sorry to help improve the content of an email, ColorZilla does almost the same kind of work for a graphic designer. It helps in the creation of an exact color match, backed by a host of other useful features, such as palette viewer, gradient generator, etc.

StayFocused
This is a great choice for those wanting to stay focused on their task instead of wasting time on unproductive search. This is an excellent tool to help limit the amount of time spent by a user on time-wasting websites.

These extensions are available online at the Chrome Web Store, which was launched in 2010. They operate, along with applications and browser themes, in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Google Apps Script. Easy to manage (simply by going to chrome://extensions), they can be easily hidden, turned off, repaired in the event of being corrupted, adapted for use on multiple devices and even deleted.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Though it might appear that the good old desktop maybe on its way out, thanks to the growing proliferation of mobile devices and technology, the truth is actually quite contrary. Desktops are here to stay and will, most likely, continue to do so. If you find that hard to believe, just take a look around any office environment.

To make things more interesting, the world of desktop innovation is charging ahead with the development of several tools oriented towards PC use. Whether it's file editing or accounting, there has been a massive inflow of desktop applications for multiple purposes in the past couple of years. Here is a list of some of the applications that are actually worth taking a look at, if you still happen to be a hardcore desktop fan.

Free Commander XE

Free Commander XE

If you are getting too tired of the same old windows explorer layout, then the Free Commander XE is the answer to all your prayers. The application lets you divide your layout into two independent panes making navigation and multi-tasking much easier. Plus, you also get a nice add-on package containing very useful single-click features. Installation is also quite smooth and problem free.

SeaMonkey

SeaMonkey

The SeaMonkey is Mozilla's product suite that comes with applications such as the Thunderbird email client, Firefox web browser, and HTML editor. The HTML editor, especially, is quite a stand-out product. Though it cannot compete with the likes of professional programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver, it does get the job done. From basic HTML assembly to tag structure examination, the Mozilla HTML editor takes care of it all.

GIMP

The GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Product. It is a free application that is gaining widespread appreciation as a viable alternative to the big boss, Adobe Photoshop. In fact, it provides almost the same level of functionality and features that can be found on Photoshop. It offers support for multiple image formats and even Photoshop brushes. Apart from that, GIMP uses the same layer-based approach and editing features you'll find on Adobe's flagship image editing program. Added to that, there are tons of third party scripts and add-ons available for use.

7-Zip

7-Zip

If you are tired of file compressing programs such as WinRAR or WinZip, then 7-Zip is here to save the day. The application is absolutely free and supports several compression formats. It is pretty much a one-stop solution that can very well replace WinZip and WinRAR altogether.

AbiWord

AbiWord

If OpenOffice does not satisfy your need for an alternative to Microsoft Word, then AbiWord is what you are looking for. Designed to emulate most of the MSWord features and functionalities, AbiWord serves as a perfect free of cost replacement to the original Windows product. It even lets you collaborate with other AbiWord users through a network allowing real-time execution on the same document.

Monday, June 8, 2015
Linux

Technology, in recent times, has become a core part of all business related operations. So much so, that companies spend considerable amounts of money, time and other resources in order to ensure the proper setup of a technological infrastructure. This move towards a technology centered business and work environment only continues to expand and grow as time passes.

OS X Yosemite

As a business yourself, you probably put in a lot of effort in setting up your IT infrastructure as well, or maybe, you are in the process of doing so. You've probably noticed that one of the most major concerns about setting up a proper IT infrastructure was or is finding the right operating system (OS) for your systems. The most obvious choices would've included either the Apple OSX or the more common Microsoft Windows. But, there is and has always been another player in the game. A dark-horse by the name of Linux. If you haven't considered trying or switching to this OS, here are reasons why you should.

Cost-effective

The term 'cost-effective' wouldn't be the right term to describe the budget friendliness aspect of Linux because the fact is, the OS is absolutely free. All you have to download it from the company website and install it onto your systems. This is obviously a huge advantage, considering the facts that it’s rivals are quite expensive, especially the OSX operating system from Apple. Plus, Linux is also open-source, which means you get to do what you want with it. You can customize or modify it to suit your requirements.

User friendly

Though this was not the case earlier, Linux has changed a lot since its initial arrival. The system is just as easy to use as any other major operating system. It uses standard Unix commands and has a layout that is almost the same as any other commercial Unix based operating system. Though, the average user might find the dependence on keyboards too much to handle, it's a small price to pay for the flexibility and power that comes with Linux.

Those who are particular about a Graphical User Interface can always opt for add-ons such as Kubuntu and ZorinOS.

Security

Being an open-source platform, Linux has dedicated communities revolving around its development. Everyday, these communities work towards providing the latest bug and security fixes. On the other hand, popular OS options such as Windows and OSX depend on their parent companies to come up with security patches, which aren't always regular.

Low-resource requirement

Linux depends on minimal resources to operate and therefore, rarely faces performance issues. This isn't the case with an OS like Windows, because as systems get older, they become unable to support its high-resource requirements.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
OS X Yosemite

When it comes to computerizing your workplace, there are a lot of complex and confusing decisions to be made. One of those decisions is to choose the right kind of operating system for your workstations. Each operating system comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

You will have to find one that would suit your operations and overall business better. In this scenario, it would be ideal to look at all your options and test them against your requirements. Here are the top OS options available in the market for you to take a look at.

The Big 2

Though there are more OS options available, the 2 most popular and widely used options include Windows and OSX and therefore, our comparisons will be limited to these options. To start off, we will take a look at Windows first.

Windows: Microsoft's Windows is the staple operating system for more than half the organizations around the world because it is highly flexible and compatible with multiple programs and software. This high level of flexibility and compatibility comes in handy, especially, if your organization has to constantly collaborate on work or share files with clients or other businesses.

Windows is also quite user friendly, which means you won't have to spend considerable amounts of money or time trying to train employees. In fact, windows is so common that most of your employees probably know their way around it.  Speaking of the flexibility mentioned earlier, Windows can be used with multiple hardware options giving you the freedom to pick and choose only the components that you would require.

Coming to the drawbacks, the truth is that windows has many. One of the main issues with windows is security. This OS has a wide list of viruses and other computer infections that it falls victim to on a regular basis. The other issue is that of hardware and software maintenance. Owing to the large number of software and hardware options available for Windows, not every configuration can be tested officially. This results in a lot of configuration problems and eventually leads to instability.

Nevertheless, Windows makes a good option if you aren't too concerned about security or regular maintenance.

OSX: Though not as common as the Windows OS, it is, nevertheless, considered to be far superior by its patrons. Apple's OSX is the dream operating system for those involved in content creation. It's built on the Unix platform, which gives it a wide range of advantageous features.

It also hosts applications that are optimized for the purpose of content creation, be it textual or visual. It is also extremely easy to operate and users constantly praise it for its brilliant interface. Work processes become smoother and problem free with OSX. It is also very secure compared to windows since there aren't too many viruses or malware designed for OSX.

However, there are drawbacks even to OSX. To begin with, OSX is an expensive program and would not be feasible unless your work involves continuous content creation. Even the annual updates tend to burn a hole in company budgets. The other issue is that it isn't compatible with multiple hardware or software options like Windows. OSX runs only on Apple hardware, which means you will have to buy the complete Apple system, which isn't cost-friendly at all. So, unless you are an organization whose service involves constant content creation, OSX isn't for you.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Intel New Processor

Intel has recently unveiled a new processor called the Core M or Broadwell that will let PC manufacturers build much thinner laptops and ultrabooks. Thanks to this iconic processor, computers will be able to run without fans. The fans, which are an integral part of a laptop, may soon become a part of history, if this advanced processor technology is successful. It was Intel's Vice-President of the platform-engineering group, Rani Borkar, who announced the launch of the chip to the media.

Tough competition among chip manufacturers

It is not just Intel, but many other major chip manufacturers are also trying their level best to release a processor that could give the big guns a run for their money. These companies are trying to achieve this by reducing the size of the chips even further. However, with the latest release, Intel has taken a giant stride towards outmaneuvering their competition which it has been doing so for a long time.

The Core M chip is just 14 nanometers long, which is a mind-boggling one-billionth of a meter. Thanks to its micro-mini size the computer manufacturers now can make their devices even smaller, lighter and more power efficient, which would no longer need the fan for cooling. Experts are estimating the thickness of the future ultra books to go down to less than nine mm. Removal of the fan is a key feature that would enable the laptops to become more like a tablet.

Launch of the chip to be delayed

The launch of this Core M chip has been delayed by several months because of some issues regarding the manufacture of this state-of-the-art technology. However, once these issues are sorted out, Intel will start making these Broadwell chips in large numbers as they are expecting a huge demand from all the PC manufacturers. The company believes that with time, they will be able to handle the huge demand for the 14 nm chip, just like they did with the 22 nm chip which was also a revolutionary chip during its launch. It is expected that the customers will be able to buy the Core M powered computers in the first half of next year.

When it comes to the processors for mobile devices, it is the ARM based chips that has a strong hold over the market and Intel are looking to compete with them with the launch of the Core M.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Simple Tips to Make Your Laptop Battery Last Long

Right at the moment you need your laptop for an important meeting, the battery is depleting and you can’t find an adapter to power it. There are ways in which you can stretch your battery power in the short term. To do this, you will need to activate the battery saver mode of the laptop. This will make adjustments to the settings of your laptop and convert the components into low power consuming states so that the battery lasts just a little longer.

Disable what you don’t need

Another step you would need to take is to disable or turn off components you don’t need. Anything that you don’t need like a drive, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth should be turned off to save battery life. You can go to the Device Manager in the Control Panel to do so. Multi-tasking, running many programs simultaneously heaps extra burden on your laptop or PC processor and draws extra power, so try and use one application at a time when you are short on battery life and have no adapter to charge the system.

You should charge batteries only to 80 per cent and then allow them to drain till they reach 40 per cent to prolong battery life by as much as four times. This advice of course has been contradicted because modern-day lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries don’t need you to be as careful. However, you should avoid plugging in at all times with the battery inside because constant power actually eats into the life of your battery, and heat causes cell expansion as well as bubbling.

Other simple tips to keep your battery in a good condition include making sure your laptop has been updated and defragmenting the laptop. Another way to save battery is to use solid-state drive or SSD that uses flash memory rather than a disk that spins. Some really easy solutions are adding some RAM or getting a power pack which can plug into your system much like a charger.

Battery maintenance

Maintenance of your battery is really important, and if your laptop has a battery that can be removed, you should ensure that the battery contacts should not be damaged or get dirty. You would need to clean the battery contacts with some cotton dipped in alcohol. However, if your laptop has a battery that has been sealed, you won’t be able to do the same. If your laptop isn’t in a good condition and you need one for immediate use, you could depend on computer rentals for your needs.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Encrypting Data on Your Computer

Encryption of data has gained importance in the wake of data leaks in top firms and the insecure world we live in. Encryption is not necessarily useful only for companies, it is also beneficial for individuals considering the amount of information we store on the cloud.

If you are using a laptop from a computer rentals firm, encryption becomes all the more important, especially when you use thumb or USB hard drives or use the Internet to share important data related to your research, for instance. Encrypting data on your hard drive is fairly easy; there are some applications that you can enable if your computer has Windows 7 (Enterprise or Ultimate), Pro, Vista or Windows 8 Enterprise version.

Some other applications don’t need your PC to have these requirements; choose one that is ideal. A good open source application allows you to create a ‘disk’ on the computer that feels like a typical disk on the PC. The same applies to the USB or thumb drives too.

VPN is very important

The most important encryption could be when you need to protect incoming and outgoing Internet traffic. This is particularly true if you are using a Wi-Fi network in a public place such as an airport where a hacker can easily hack into data that leaves and enters you laptop. You need a virtual private network or VPN to encrypt your Internet data. The VPN helps create a tunnel that is secure and leads to a trusted server which is a third party one.

If you use a file sharing network, you should know that the service encrypts data you share for you. However, they have the power to decrypt your data as well, under certain circumstances. If you want another layer of protection for your files in the cloud, you could again use an encryption software that can be installed in your cloud service.

Outlook and Office files

Email on your Outlook can be encrypted as well; it is not based on passwords but on receiving digital certificates which decrypt or encrypt messages automatically. Users would need to share these certificates before sharing messages that are encrypted. If you want to send mails that nobody else but your recipient can receive and read, you can use a browser-based application for encryption.

If you Office 2010 or 2013, you can encrypt any document by going to File – Info – Protect Document. Then click on Encrypt with Password. This applies to Excel, PowerPoint or Word. You can use the same method to encrypt your PDFs as well.

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