Mar 30, 2023
Even if spring hasn't arrived where you live, now is the perfect time to do some digital spring cleaning by organizing your gadgets, apps, and online accounts. By thoroughly decluttering your digital life, you can protect your privacy and your identity and make sure your business or place of work remains safe. When there are fewer unprotected opportunities to obtain your sensitive information, hackers have fewer things to steal and exploit.
Our digital lives are littered with clutter that needs to be cleaned up and organized frequently. You have at least one email account through a client like Google or Microsoft, a personal account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, and more. Then you have work-related social media accounts like Teams, Slack, Trello, and Salesforce. If you're running multiple businesses, you may have even more than one email address, phone number, and website to manage. And there's all the stuff you need to manage in your personal life as well — documents, photos, videos and music, just sitting in possibly outdated apps and programs on your computers, phones and tablets. It doesn't take long before you realize just how many cybersecurity risks you may be missing. So what should you do to clean your digital space and avoid leaving you open to security hazards? Here are some tips on how you can spring clean your way into a happier, more secure digital space.
Among the first things you should encourage your employees to do is to clean up their computers of all unnecessary data which can clog storage and slow down devices. Cleaning out unneeded data, files, and software is a priority, especially any free software demos or forgotten downloaded games. There is a reasonable chance that any software that isn't being actively used isn't patched and hasn't been updated, which can leave any computer vulnerable to breaches. You can help your employees by creating a list of common software that might be on their computer that they do not need. Then, you can share advice on how to safely and properly uninstall these unnecessary software applications.
Dust, dirt, and other contaminants should be removed from computers, scanners, and other shared digital devices. Always check device fans for dust, clean screens and sanitize shared surfaces. This also includes cleaning up physical devices you no longer use, such as scanners and printers. Not only do old devices take up physical space, but having them around can pose a security risk as critical data stored on these devices can be recovered. Make sure to collect any old laptops, tablets, printers or other electronic devices, properly clear them of any data and then find a place near you that does electronic recycling to dispose of your old devices properly.
If you use the same password across multiple services, it's a good idea to change them so that they aren't easy targets for cybercriminals. One of the best places to begin digital spring cleaning is to start with the apps you use most on your phones and computers. Two general guidelines apply here: if you frequently use any app or account, change the password, and make sure each password is different from other passwords you use for other apps and accounts. If you don't use the account or app, get rid of it by canceling the account, especially if it contains credit card information. When you cancel your account, you protect your information from being stolen if there is a security breach. Employing a password manager is helpful in this regard, keeping each of your passwords unique and making sure you don't forget them or leave them out where others can easily find them. A password manager helps secure your online presence.
Take a look at your network and perform a routine system check. Spring is a great time to also double-check your maintenance calendar to make sure your network is always running properly. This is also a great time to review and update your security policies. Move your documents to the cloud and encrypt any important files you keep. Take the time to either shred your old physical files or digitize them and add them to cloud storage. Use comprehensive security software on your devices which will protect you from viruses, malware and other cyberattacks. This software can help you digitally file any old digital files you no longer need so that they can't be easily recovered.
Spring cleaning business technology can be a challenging task. Naturally, it can feel overwhelming to manage all of these tasks and still run your business. Fortunately, there are ways to get help. Miller's IT experts can help you complete your critical projects, such as a spring cleaning technology audit. We also offer decommissioning services to help you quickly decommission old servers and data centers. Please reach out to our experienced IT experts for any technology needs or questions you may have.