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I empathize with people who are only trying to do their job when they get scared or yelled at because they didn’t take the proper action to prevent data from being stolen or an infection from compromising the entire network.


There are roughly three types of people that do work on computers. They are:

This is what everyone says:
They are not part of the artsy crowd and are practical, not too worried about fashion tech. They are running Windows 10 and have Chrome installed, although that’s getting more difficult to do these days (thanks, Microsoft).


A computer? ok if I have to::
This person takes a budget computer and doesn’t have a technical person’s help. They turn it on and do just enough to get logged in and start working. They use Internet Explorer and the new Edge thing is confusing but they’ve just begun to use it because Microsoft recently forced them into it.


The artsy or fashion-forward:
They are using Apple. They have an iPhone and the computer is compatible so everything works together smoothly. Safari is a good browser so they run with it. The technical infrastructure changes several times a year. There are security tech wars going on that most people are not aware of nor care about. Around all of these risky areas are bad actors trying to feed off of the fog created by the ongoing changes.

My recommendation is to only use tools verified to be from a small subset of software manufacturers and cloud service providers. These would be like: Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and Apple. It is in their interest to protect your data and they have proven that they work toward that end. Violations of your trust or government regulators would be costly to them.

There are other types of users but this covers the basics. Be cautious of services that are free. Nothing is free and they are making money from you. In your work life, if you don’t have a skilled technology person who is aware of these facts, seek out someone if you want to consider a service provider not in the above group. Lastly, if you see something that is convenient, would be fun or great to have, don’t install it if it’s not from your favored group.

By the way, just because Facebook is a big American company doesn’t mean they are safe. Their entire business model is built on capturing and sharing your data in complex and confusing ways that constantly change. Restrict your facebook to personal devices, preferably a home computer that does not have access to work systems.

In the referenced article, online stores are tricky places, whether it’s Google or Apple apps or extensions. It’s a minefield that is being updated daily so the risks are high. Stick with the methodology outlined above. It will reduce your risk of serious problems.

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Don Wickelgren
Don Wicklegren is Xilium's founder. He is a technologist by profession who started his career pre-internet in remote medical technology and learning. He has worked in both small and large corporations with world-wide remote staff and became a part of the team who developed the first commercial internet. As an entrepreneur, he started his first technology company in 2001. In Xilium, he focuses on innovating solutions for the US healthcare system.
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