Insurance is generally designed to protect tangible assets. If your office space catches fire, your policy pays out. If a work computer is destroyed, your policy pays out. Network security insurance aims to cover the less tangible assets, which, when you really break it down, are what define your business. Anybody can rent some office space and fill it with top grade laptops, but not everybody will turn that into a successful software development studio. Network security insurance covers you against data breaches, system failures and so on.
A major threat to these assets, and one that not everybody will be aware of, is bloatware. You know, all those little programs that come packaged on your laptop that don’t seem to do anything but slow you down. All those updater tools, those “Speed up my computer” apps that seem to do the opposite, free trials that, after the month is up, remind you to buy-in every single time you turn the computer on.
Besides the simple fact that bloatware slows you down when you try to use your PC, many of these useless tools actually have SYSTEM user privileges. This means that a data breach can be a major problem, with hackers piggybacking on that access to take whatever they want while browsing your files.
So how to manage it?
First, start up task manager and end all those useless processes. You can sort by memory usage to stop the RAMhogs, first, and then work your way down. Some of them will obviously be bloatware, and when in doubt, you can use Google to find out whether something is necessary for your computer to run. This won’t solve the problem right away, but it will get your computer running up to speed so that you can do something about it.
Next you have two options: Manually uninstall every single one of these programs one by one, which can be incredibly tedious, or, backup what you need, wipe the hard drive, and do a fresh Windows install.
Bloatware is legal because it isn’t as immediately harmful as other unwanted programs like trojans, worms, viruses, adware, spamware and so on, but it’s not good for your hardware, and in the event of a breach, it’s not good for your data. Network security insurance can help you out when those intangible assets are lost, but as always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.