Improve your online life! Give it a good digital spring cleaning

spring cleaning

You’ve heard of spring cleaning? There’s a digital equivalent, and it’s as important as any scrubbing you do around the house or office.

Like cleaning your home, the work might not be much fun, but you won’t have to haul out any mops or sponges to do it and you’ll likely feel better when you’re done. You’ll improve your security, and your devices will probably run faster.

Here are a few tips for refreshing and renewing your cyber life:

1. Review your online accounts

  • Delete any you no longer use.
  • If any of the surviving accounts have information you no longer need, such as saved credit card numbers or old documents stored in the cloud, then delete them.

2. Update your devices

  • Update the apps and operating system on all Internet-connected devices. This reduces the risk of malware and infections.
  • Delete unused apps and browsers.
  • Check your browser settings. Clear out old data, such as stored passwords, and make sure your browser doesn’t store passwords. (Unsure? Check your settings.)

3. Purge files! (Keep UC retention requirements in mind, of course!)

  • Delete your old email, files, and downloads. Empty the trash when you’re done.
  • Unsubscribe to newsletters, email alerts and mailing lists you no longer read.

4. Check your security

  • Make sure all your devices require a password, passcode, or fingerprint to log in.
  • Turn on two-step authentication (aka two-step verification or multi-factor authentication) on critical accounts like email, banking and social media, where available. Learn more at “Lock Down Your Login.”
  • Review your passwords. Are they all long and strong? Change any that aren’t. Use different passwords for work and non-work accounts.

5. Clean your online reputation

  • On your social media sites, review and update your profiles.
  • Review your privacy and security settings on social media and other sites you use. Are you comfortable with the settings?
  • Delete old photos, etc., that no longer represent who you are. Especially if they now seem embarrassing.
  • Review friends on social networks and contacts on phones and PCs. Do they all still belong?

6. Back things up

  • Make sure your important files are fully backed up, and that you can actually restore them … knowing you can is better than thinking you can.

Adapted from an article by the University of California, with information from the Better Business Bureau, The National Cyber Security Alliance, Stop.Think.Connect., StaySafeOnline.org, and MS-ISAC Center for Internet Security.