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  • New Computer, New Backup and Security

    So my new laptop should be arriving tomorrow, and that has made me think about what I'll have to do to keep my data safe (I lost all of my video files with the concurrent death of my old laptop, and breaking of my backup hdd). Previously I've used a single portable hdd (2TB) to store all my data, and relied on my windows pw to keep my data secure from unwanted viewers. However having lost my backup once (someone pulled it off a table), I have realized I need to upgrade at least the physical security of my data, and having seen a number of XKCDs commenting on examples of poor security I am guilty of in the past few months, I've decided it's time for a complete overhaul.

    On the physical side of things, I think what I really need is a sturdy hdd enclosure that can take between two and four drives. I have considered cloud backup, but given how much data I have now (about 1.5 TB), and the fact that I am a broke, unemployed, student, I think that is really out of my reach. I was thinking if I could set the enclosure up either with a spare (and currently broken, though that's it's own thread) tower, or my router, I could also use it as a media server/storage for one. I don't know quite what that would entail, I gather either getting a nas enclosure, or a regular one and hooking it up to the tower?

    In terms of software protection, I'm a lot more lost. I know my passwords need an overhaul in general (more different ones, and more complicated ones), and I think I can probably manage that with keepass or lastpass, but I would welcome any advice. Beyond that is where I really flounder. A significant part of the problem is that my geek side thinks my data should be as secure as the most secret files in the CIA, the realist side of me realizes that I'm a student, and don't have anything particularly sensitive on my machine, so I probably shouldn't sacrifice easy of use for security. On the overprotective side I have been considering encrypting my whole machine with Truecrypt with a decoy OS etc, my more reasonable side thinks a strong windows password is probably enough. What solutions would you all recommend? I have 1.5 TB of space on the new laptop, so I could swallow the space taken up by a second os and some junk files, but I am somewhat concerned b what kind of performance hit I would take encrypting my whole drive, I also don't know how I would manage the two hdds in the machine (one 500GB, one 1TB). What do you all think?

    In terms of virus pro, I've got a subscription for Viruskeeper that I have been using for the last 4 years, and it seems to work well. I usually pair that with Winpatrol to manage startup programs, and a firewall. I don't really know what to do firewall wise though, I used to use Zone Alarm, but that had a wall in terms of support when I got vista 64, and I used Comodo for a while. However since getting windows 7 on my netbook, I've stuck with the stock windows firewall. Is that enough? What should I try?

  • #2
    Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

    I think what I really need is a sturdy hdd enclosure that can take between two and four drives.
    That's pretty extreme. Given that, it would be hard to meet both the sturdy and spacious requirement and still be affordable.

    Keeping your external HDDs on a sturdy shelf and to run the wires around the back so that they aren't in the way of foot traffic would be my recommendation.

    The first thing that pops in my head would be to point you at a NAS (Networked Attached Storage) box. In this case, the NAS can actually be just hooked directly to one computer via USB or eSATA. Ideally for those who have tons and tons of data, this is the usual path they take (or they build a separate box to act as the NAS).

    QNAP NAS Server ($450):
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822107034

    (No HDDs included. Buy your own and plug them in.)

    If that doesn't work out for you, then probably just a ruggedized external HDD.

    Perhaps the LaCie Rugged XL might fit what you need: http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=11257

    Though if you want something that'll survive a drop form a table onto a hard surface, something like the Olixir drives would probably be best (up to around $900): http://www.olixir.com/index.php?name...e=product_info

    A cheap alternative would be to get a few external hard drives @ 2 TBs or so apiece and wrap them in large bubble bubble wrap. It would cushion and absorb the shock of a waist-high fall.
    Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 10-20-2010, 10:00 PM.
    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
    Former 9th & 13th

    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

    TG Primer and Rules

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

      I can get by without drop protection fine, especially if it makes the price absurd, or doesn't exist with features I want. My only real concern in that regard is that it be built solidly, not something where if it gets sneezed on it will break. I don't plan on throwing it around, and have a new rule that no one freaking touch it, but I can't fix that it will be in a house with a six year old and pets.

      The size is more of an issue, I've got a bit under 2TBs of data, and considering that both my movie and music collection keep growing I feel doubling that would probably be good for future-proofing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

        Well, in that case, I'd probably recommend getting a pair of these ($120 each):

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136471

        If you have issues with WD, then here's a LaCie branded one ($130):

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822154394

        They have well built shells and can take some punishment. Just don't expect them to survive any falls. From what I know, the internal drive is either a WD, Toshiba, Hitachi, or a Samsung.

        Probably the most affordable and easiest to set up. Unfortunately, it's USB 2.0, so not the greatest speeds compared to eSATA.

        Alternatively, here's a 4 TB external hard drive ($500):

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822154428

        For $500, though, getting two of these might be better ($200 each):

        http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Freeag...7626817&sr=1-7

        3 TB Seagate FreeAgent external. You'd get 6 TBs for $400 roughly.

        I'd probably check your local computer parts store to see if you can find any 2 TB external HDDs with USB and eSATA ports. I'm guessing your new laptop would have at least 1 eSATA port.
        Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 10-20-2010, 10:20 PM.
        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
        Former 9th & 13th

        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

        TG Primer and Rules

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

          The prices really do seem to be crazy given that one is in effect getting a tiny computer with 4 multiple HDD slots, or am I misunderstanding what a NAS entails?

          It seems to me like it might just be easier, and cheaper to build a box and set it up as a server for handling my backups. I'll try to troubleshoot/get some pictures of my two broken desktop machines tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to get somewhere.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

            Okay, re-read my post. I just added a few more alternatives.

            It seems to me like it might just be easier, and cheaper to build a box and set it up as a server for handling my backups.
            It would be unless your budget isn't anywhere close to $500-$600 (4 x 1 TB = ~$350, factor in the rest of the hardware, and $500 is basic cost of that new box).
            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
            Former 9th & 13th

            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

            TG Primer and Rules

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

              Well, I've got the two broken boxes, which amongst themselves at least have the parts for one server, so I think the cost would just be the time and internal drives, which are at least cheaper than the external variety. I will definitely by this weekend be posting a thread about fixing that box/building a backup/media server. IIRC what I've got is one micro atx, and one full tower that may both have issues as simple as needing an OS install, at worst the cost would be a new motherboard. They are both fairly old (I'm thinking 3-5 years), but I think should handle streaming/copying content just fine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

                Depending on the socket of the CPU's, you might need more than just a new mobo.
                |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                Former 9th & 13th

                Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                TG Primer and Rules

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

                  External Hard drives are definitely the cheapest, most convenient way to get backup storage space. You can get a couple 2TB external drives for ~$120 each. It sounds like the only thing stopping you from doing this is that you're afraid of physically damaging them. I actually love the idea Acreo brought up of bubblewrapping them haha.

                  Another option would be to buy a consumer oriented NAS with a couple 2 TB hard drives. Looking at Newegg, you can pick up a D-Link NAS for ~$150 plus the cost of a couple 2 TB WD Green drives which go for around ~$120 each. That means the cost would be +150 over just getting ordinary external hard drives. The benefit is that you would get a unit that you didn't have to physically connect to your laptop. You can stow it away safely next to your router or something and access it over your network. You also probably get some nifty software with your NAS that can schedule backups and whatnot. Set up is usually pretty simple as well.

                  The NAS option, to me, is a lot better than going through the hassle of reconfiguring a desktop made out of spare parts into a file server, having the added noise and energy costs of running a second computer 24/7, and accommodating the space and mess a desktop takes up (NAS would be about the size of a tissue box).


                  Because you're using a laptop, you have to be a little more conscious of security than if you were using a desktop. Your computer is a lot easier to physically steal than a desktop and you are more likely to find yourself on a public wifi connection which is one of the most unsecure things you can do. My suggestions, in no particular order:

                  1. Develop and memorize one password that is really strong, something using numbers and uppercase/lowercase. If necessary, use a pattern that is easy for you to remember, something like <meaningful number><uppercase word><meaningful number><lowercase word>. Then use this password along with variations of it for all your most sensitivie account information stuff like online bank accounts, credit cards, E-mail etc.

                  2. Use simple or existing passwords for everything else that isn't critical. i.e. websites, forums etc. The key is not to have important passwords overlap with unimportant ones.

                  3. Never, ever, EVER access your important online bank or credit card accounts from public wifi.


                  For anti-virus, anti-malware, just continue using your preferred AV software (all the popular ones are pretty much the same to me) and mix in the occasional scan with another tool like Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware. For more security, you could look into closing off ports.
                  "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: New Computer, New Backup and Security

                    Another option is just to get 1-2 1 TB 2.5" HDDs and plop them into the spare HDD bays in your laptop. Prolly cost you around $150 or so each.

                    Again I'm assuming you went with a custom model that has extra HDD bays for expansion.

                    Lastly, delete some of the stuff you won't be watching anymore. That way you're not accumulating a ton of files of which you only use like 5% of.

                    (Yes I'm also talking about those who have personal datacenter-ish racks with over 12 TB of just music and videos because they only torrent everything and anything and never ever even touch the stuff.)
                    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                    Former 9th & 13th

                    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                    TG Primer and Rules

                    Comment

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