A fellow small business owner came to me a short while ago because she had to bring her laptop in to the repair shop. She was having concerns about leaving her information with people whom she didn't know and asked if she should somehow be removing it from the computer first. What a smart lady.
As more and more of our businesses become digitized, it's important that you keep your data close to you. It is definitely a good idea to clear your computer of all data before disposing or sending it anywhere for repairs.
The reasons are simple. You don't want people snooping in your files. Nobody is comfortable having complete strangers know all their business, your life is on that computer! Any smart cookie can easily figure out important dates from photos and your lifestyle in general.
It may happen that your technician has no choice but to re-format your computer. Are you prepared to loose all that data? Yes, you could go in and get the computer and bring it home so that you can copy all the files, then bring it back but why not save yourself all that work? Back up or even remove everything from the beginning, and you'll be glad you prepared for the situation.
If you're disposing your computers, retrieve all your data. Then, have the hard drive re-formatted to erase any left over files.
Now that you've got the computer covered, what about your cell phone or mobile devices? These tiny devices can hold much more information than ever before. Don't give away your information as you dispose of your phone through recycling, donating or even giving it away.
It's been reported many phones that are recycled still contain a lot of information. In many cases, you can still view photos, text messages, voice mail, voice notes, calendars, schedules and phone numbers.
You want to do your part for the environment, but you need to keep that information safe. How do you do both? It's not really that hard at all, often just doing a reset on your cell-phone will do the trick. You can find out how to do this by checking your phone manual. If you can be sure to also remove the SIM card. If you've lost your manual then visit WirelessRecycling.com to get their Cell Phone Data Eraser. What you do is enter your phone make and model, and then you get step-by-step directions.
Lynette Chandler helps small businesses utilize technology in their marketing and every day business. Discover how you can use technology to your business's advantage at TechBasedMarketing.com