As a consultant, I store a lot of sensitive data about my clients.

From website passwords to confidential business documents, my desktop computers and laptops contain data that could be damaging to my clients if it got in the hands of the wrong people.

Because of this, I do my best to protect my clients’ data (as well as my own). Unfortunately, I know a lot of consultants who don’t.

If you store any sensitive data about your clients, customers or employer, you might find a list of some of the security software and hardware products I use to be of value.

You may not see the need to be as protective as I am, but if you don’t at the very least have solid anti-virus, anti-spyware/anti-malware and firewall software, you’re needlessly putting your data at risk and the consequences of that can be quite serious.

Software

  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus. After trying McAfee, Symantec and just about every other popular anti-virus software package, I finally settled on Kaspersky. It’s powerful, and I’ve found that its resource utilization is about as reasonable as one can expect from a full-featured anti-virus solution.
  • Outpost Firewall Pro. Although ZoneAlarm is popular, I swear by Outpost Firewall Pro and it has won praise from other reviewers.
  • AdAware Free. I’ve been using AdAware since shortly after it was released, and if you’re looking for a free anti-spyware program, this is a good choice.
  • CounterSpy. If you have an extra $20, CounterSpy is a great investment in my opinion. Numerous times it has caught malware AdAware Free missed.
  • TrueCrypt. This open-source software enables you to encrypt entire partitions and storage devices transparently. It’s a powerful solution for keeping your most sensitive data secure.
  • Eraser. When I need to delete confidential documents, I rely on this free program. It provides the ability to delete files using a variety of sophisticated methods, including the method recommended by the US Department of Defense.

Hardware

  • Maxtor BlackArmor. When I’m traveling, I take a laptop with me that contains limited sensitive information on the internal hard drive and take a 320GB Maxtor BlackArmor external hard drive that stores any sensitive information I might need. The Maxtor BlackArmor has hardware-based full-disk encryption and requires a password to work.
  • Netgear WGT624 wireless router. When I decided to set up a wireless network for my home office, security was a big consideration. The Netgear WGT624 wireless router offers two firewalls (NAT and SPI) and some advanced security features, and I’ve been satisfied with it.
  • Verifi Fingertouch Security Professional. I like the idea that if somebody wants to easily access my computers, they’ll have to chop off my hand. While the Lenovo laptop I use for travel has a built in fingerprint reader, for my two Windows XP desktops, I purchased Verifi Fingertouch systems. Overkill? Maybe. But I like the peace of mind that comes with knowing that an extra layer of biometric security has been added to my “setup.”