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  • Burton Kelso, Tech Expert

4 Steps To Help Protect Your Sensitive Data During Computer Repair and Tech Support



When you allow someone to repair your technology, you are granting them access to your passwords, email, pictures, financial records and anything else you save that you consider to be private and confidential. News that the FBI paid Geek Squad technicians to act as informants, rewarding them for flagging child porn for over the past 10 years is a reminder that your personal information doesn't stay private once you take it in to a shop. Most repair shops have a moral and legal obligation to report inappropriate images to the authorities if they are discovered during the course of a repair, but it's unusual to encourage a technician to go fishing for information for a financial reward. Technology fails and at some point, you will have to find someone to fix your tech. Want to keep you data safe? Here's some steps that can help.

1. Consider using On-Site or Remote Tech Support rather than taking it into a shop. Computer repair, smartphone and tablet tech support that comes to you puts you in control. When you drop your device off at a shop, a technician can do whatever they want with your device. When computer or device repair happens at your home or business, you can keep a close eye on what is being done which leaves less of a window of opportunity for someone to snoop on your device. Many of our customers love the remote and on-site tech support we offer because it allows to them watch what we are doing and it gives them an opportunity to learn how we solve a problem, so they can attempt to fix the same problem if it occurs again.

2. Read the Privacy Policy. A privacy policy shows that your tech is looking out for your personal data. It spells out what happens if inappropriate data is discovered on your device. It explains what happens if your sensitive data is exposed. It lets you know what steps they take to keep your data private. We keep our privacy posted on our web site for everyone to see. If you don't see a privacy policy make sure you ask to see it. If you can't get a copy, you might want to choose another shop or tech.

3. Protect Your Passwords. We don't keep the password information of our customers. We suggest our customers keep that information to themselves. If a technician writes down user name and password information, make sure it stays at your location or is destroyed after a service visit.

4. Protect your personal information and always backup your information. Sometimes, information has to be moved from a damaged computer or device to fix it. Many technicians insist on using their own USB drives to move data between your device, while it's effective, are you sure your tech is deleting you data from their device when they leave? Having your own external hard drive or using cloud backup, ensures that your information stays in the safety of your home or office. In the event that you have an old computer you want to donate, have the technician remove the hard drive. In doing this, you have control of you data and don't have to worry if your information will be removed before the computer is handed over to someone else. For smartphones and tablets that you want to donate, resetting the device back to factory defaults, it's just a simple matter of putting a password on your device.

When our devices fail, it’s out of our control, but you can control is who will repair them. It's always nice to have someone you trust to fix your devices, but if there is every any doubt, you have some tips that will help you secure your technology and data! Like this tech tip, let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below.


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