tech resolutions

This is the time of year when we make resolutions and sets goals for the New Year. You might want to lose weight, travel more, lower your stress, but chances are, tech resolutions don’t even make your list – but they should!

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and we understand it’s tough to stay on top of things, especially if you’re not a “techy” person. So we’re rounding up the top 5 tech resolutions that can save you a lot of headache in the New Year.

1) Back up your Personal Data

Ok, you’ve heard this before. But what exactly does it mean – back up to an external hard drive or back up to the cloud – which is better? What IS the cloud for that matter?

The “cloud”, in simplest terms, just means your data is stored online rather than on your computer.  Think of the cloud as just a metaphor for the internet. You can access your data through a software interface similar to a web browser and you can do so from any device. Google Drive, Carbonite and Dropbox are all examples of cloud storage providers.

Now back to the question of data backup. Should you back up to the cloud or move your data to an external storage device? If you want to be safe, use both! That way, if you don’t have an internet connection you can still retrieve your data and if your hard drive fails, you have another backup.

Oh, and cost really isn’t a factor because cloud backup is very affordable, particularly for personal use and Google Drive is free, so there’s no reason not to back up those precious photos and personal data. Just keep in mind if you’re backing up sensitive data, you’ll want to use a paid storage solution that has rigid security measures and for business, you’ll need a business grade backup solution.

2) Back up your Facebook Photos, Videos and Wall Posts

Speaking of backing up data, if you’re a Facebook user and you routinely upload photos and videos, you’ll want to back up this data as well. We tend to think that because it’s…well, Facebook, they’ve got our back and we’ll never lose our data.

But the truth is, in today’s age of rampant cyber-attacks, anything could happen. Facebook could suffer a cyber-attack, they could change their terms of service limiting space or the number of photos you can upload or their servers could crash. Nobody cares about your data as much as you. From photos to wall posts, it’s actually very simple to back up your Facebook data and you can do it in three steps.

  • Step 1) Click the top right of your Facebook page, then choose Settings (in the desktop version, not mobile app)
  • Step 2) Click Download a Copy of Your Facebook Data below your general account settings
  • Step 3) Click Start My Archive

3) Manage your Digital Reputation

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to think interactions with websites like Facebook, Google and other web communities are private, but in fact, it’s easy for anyone (particularly cyber criminals) to gather a host of information about you just by doing a few quick internet searches.

Try not to reveal too much information publicly that might also count as a security question at your online banking institution for example. Things like pet names, mother/father’s maiden name, birth city, first car, etc. are often used for security questions and for this reason, it’s best to keep that information off the internet entirely.

If you want to maintain a professional image online, follow these quick steps to manage (or clean up) your digital reputation this year.

  • Google yourself: Dive in a few pages deep and see what you find. You might dig up an old Myspace profile, private photos you never wanted public or even a comment you left on a public figure’s social media profile. Did you know if you comment on a public figure’s Facebook page, even though you’re logged into your private account, your comment will be public? It’s true. For this reason, among many others, it’s a good idea to see exactly what others can see when they search your name.
  • Be cautious when leaving bad reviews: When you post a negative review, that review is often either attached to your name or your profile (Facebook or Google). And often, once you post a review, it’s difficult or impossible to remove it, so be cautious when leaving negative reviews and try to keep the review professional no matter what.
  • Review your privacy settings: Anything you post online can become public – at any time. Social media sites regularly change their privacy settings and for this reason, it’s important to pay close attention to these changes so your private data doesn’t become public. When it comes to your online activity, a good rule of thumb is to never share images or thoughts online that you wouldn’t want forwarded to an employer, mentor or parent.

4) Upgrade to Windows 10

If you’ve been putting off that next laptop purchase for fear that Windows 10 is riddled with problems, you might want to reconsider and upgrade your hardware because the majority of people have little to no issues with Windows 10.

Plus, there are a ton of great new features that earlier versions of Windows are missing. But most importantly, the most compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 10 is security. While Windows 7 and 8 are supported now, Windows 10 is where Microsoft is focusing its attention.

5) Stay Secure

You might have noticed by now that security is a theme throughout each of these tech resolutions. That’s because security doesn’t just affect business, consumers are targeted as well, just in slightly different ways.

There are a number of things you can do to avoid opening yourself up to cyber criminals:

  • Stay away from browser saved passwords
  • Use password managers to sync your passwords across multiple devices – stop reusing passwords!
  • e-cycle your electronics
  • Use secure Wi-Fi networks and finally, never, ever conduct banking or make online purchases over a public Wi-Fi network. The chance of your computer being hacked at your local Starbucks exceeds the chance of your home being burglarized.

Cybercrime is a big business, so play it safe and follow these best practices to stay safe in 2017.

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