Last week, a friend I frequently exchange texts with grabbed me and said, â€œTell me your phone number!â€ She had a desperate, end-of-days look in her eyes. So I didnâ€™t ask why, I just told her and watched as she plugged it into her phone. Then she told her tale of woe: She had dropped her iPhone (in a pool I think) and destroyed it. â€œThe Apple store was great. They replaced it instantly,â€ she told me. â€œAnd I thought, no big deal Iâ€™ll just restore everything from my computer.â€ But when she sat down at the computer to do that, she remembered her husband had been trying to fix some awful problem it was having and had replaced â€“ or wiped â€“ its hard drive. Everything on her phone was gone: photos, phone numbers, addresses, emails, appointments for her small business. Everything. And her life since had become a struggle to recapture what she could â€“ there is no getting back the photo of the incredible cake she had just finished for a client or the video of her daughterâ€™s birthday party.
Yesterday, McAfee launched a new product designed to prevent this sort of personal disaster: McAfee All Access. And, as part of promoting that product, the company did a survey that asked people all over the world what they think the data on their phones, tablets, and computers are worth. The average number worldwide was $37,438. â€œIn the U.S.,â€ though, said the report on the study. â€œPeople valued their assets at a higher figure than anywhere else, at nearly $55,000.â€ (More than my car is worth.) And my friend did seem to be in a post-trauma mood about equivalent with waking up and finding her car gone.
I know Iâ€™ve said this before but it bears repeating: Back up your data. It isnâ€™t a matter of â€œifâ€ your device will be destroyed, lost or stolen, itâ€™s a matter of â€œwhen.â€ It will happen. Donâ€™t let that drawer of obsolete phones and the old computers in the attic lull you into thinking you will always have that thing. Back up! Backing up to an external hard drive is a good idea. But cloud (in the Internet) backup will cover you if something happens to your house or all the hardware in it.
I have not yet tried McAfeeâ€™s new product â€“ McAfee All Access â€“ yet but here is a quick rundown on how it aims to prevent this sort of personal loss (for Â $99.99 US annually for an individual or $149 for a household.)
- Protect Data â€“ Backup and restore data on smartphones, tablets and PCs. Remotely locate, lock and wipe mobile devices. Misplaced smartphone at home? Make it â€œscreamâ€ to easily find it.
- Safeguard Internet Activities â€“ Block risky sites. Safely share content. Protect email and IM.
- Secure Consumersâ€™ Systems â€“ Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protects against malware and hackers. Wireless Internet at home is also protected.
- Monitor Kids and Teens â€“ Parents can supervise kidsâ€™ activities including Internet and social network use, or actively filter inappropriate content including YouTube videos and explicit music lyrics.
Iâ€™ll take it for a spin and let you know what I think. But the idea is a good because it not only backs up your data but also protects it from malware and keeps it from being used by anyone who might get it after you lose it. And making my husband’s phone “scream” every time he loses it sounds like fun.