The fundamentals of keeping your information safe on your home device – what do I really need to do?

23 February 2016

Amethyst’s Andy Heathcote offers some uncomplicated advice to help keep your data safe and secure


It is all too easy to be bamboozled with information about what you need to do to (and not do) to keep your data safe and stop the wrong person from accessing your device and your information. 

There is a continual stream of advice that talks about: the need to create complex passwords, the importance of changing them frequently, encrypting your links, encrypting your data, doing backups, installing firewalls, anti-virus software, anti-spoofing software, controlling the boot sequence, using secure e-mail, configuring a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and ensuring that your provider uses secure sockets layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS). 

Understandably, to the personal home user this all seems very technical and too much. Very often the response is to just ignore it all and hope for the best.

So what is the answer?  Is it to try and learn some of this technical language and then ‘configure’ your laptop? Or are there some simple steps that can be taken to give you a good level of security without taking too much time and getting you lost in all the technical speak?  The answer is yes, there are simple steps that can be taken.

If you follow the 10 simple measures listed below, the information on your device will be much more secure.

  • Have a username and logon password for your device.Use a strong password and keep it secure.Consider using the operating system encryption option for the device – e.g. DiskCryptor for Windows and FileVault for Apple Macs – just select

  • Use an anti-malware product (free ones include AVG or a paid for product such as McAfee) with anti-virus, web protection, e-mail protection and firewall enabled; and keep it updated

  • Make sure the software is patched (operating system such as Windows 8 or 10, MS Office, Adobe, web browser, etc.)

  • Create a restore point

  • Backup data to an external drive – weekly or monthly as appropriate for your needs

  • Use the encrypted option for your home Wi-Fi; e.g. WPA-PSK and require password for using it

  • Do not follow or respond to e-mails requesting logon or personal details, or with suspicious/unknown link types - it may contain malware

  • Do not download software from sites you do not trust – it may be malware

  • Keep your passwords to your bank, Amazon, shopping websites secure and do not use the same password for all

  • When disposing of the device delete the data and then format the hard disk using the operating system function to do this.


Amethyst’s expertise and comprehensive range of risk management services help you identify and understand risk so it can then be reduced and successfully managed. For further information on our range of services and how we can help you and your business, please contact


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