The nature of computers is such that security measures are needed to ensure privacy and confidentiality.

As part of the process of setting up online communication, you will be asked to message through either the secure form on the Contact Me section, (powered by Hushmail), use IM/chat in Skype, or setup your own free online email account with Hushmail. Hushmail is encrypted and offers the highest possible protection for email and file attachments. Skype is also encrypted and is secure for chat, audio or audio/video communication. In addition my web site has an SSL certificate.

Firewall Protection

I use both hardware and software firewalls to prevent unauthorized external access to my computer. If you are concerned about privacy, I encourage you to add a firewall to your own system. A popular and effective software firewall is available at no charge from Zone Labs.

Password Protection

If others have access to your computer, you can use a password to stop them from viewing your documents and other information that may be stored on your hard drive. I also recommend any session information or personal journaling stored on your hard drive be encrypted. Cryptainer is a free application that allows you to secure your data and ensure privacy.

Workplace Computers/Email Privacy

Since employers usually have a legal right to view data on company computers, I advise you to protect your privacy by avoiding the use of workplace computers for online counseling.

Other Privacy Considerations

If you are in a relationship that is abusive or someone you live with does not respect your basic right to privacy, please be aware that the same programs employers use to view data on employee computers is available to individuals as well. These programs record every keystroke made on the computer even if a program such as Hushmail is being used. If you have reason to suspect someone of going to such extremes, then online therapy may not be a good option at this time.

Backup of Therapy Records

Therapy Records are kept for five years after the last contact.

Every day, my system automatically performs backup tasks with a built-in scheduling program.

I use an external hard drive as the primary backup medium because it is fast and can be unplugged from one machine and plugged into another for immediate access. The external hard drive is partitioned in such a way that a full bootable copy of my entire system software is stored separately from rotating copies of other data.

My backups are made to encrypted disc images using Ghost. This means that should my external hard drive be stolen, the contents will be useless to snoopers. A smaller duplicate set of irreplaceable data is maintained and backups are uploaded via FTP to my hosting account home directory, which means I have backups of my backups.