spring clean your tech

Spring is finally here. The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the weather is warming up. This is the perfect time to reevaluate your life, get fresh start and organize your digital life. From organizing photos to securing your computer, follow these 7 simple steps give your tech a clean sweep.

1) Back Up Your Facebook Data

If you’re like most people over 30, you use Facebook as the equivalent of a virtual photo album. But what if Facebook got hacked or went down along with hundreds, if not thousands of your most beloved photos and videos?

Did you know you could back up your Facebook data? From photos to wall posts, it is actually very simple and you can do it in just 3 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

Where should you store your backup? Great question. That brings us to tip #2…

2) Back Up Personal Data to the Cloud

cloud computing milwaukee wiLet’s start with the basics. Chances are, you’ve heard this buzzword before, but you might not be sure what it means.

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a service that stores your files, documents, music and photos on secure, third-party servers. Rather than lugging around a thumb drive or external storage device, the cloud allows you to access files from any computer, at any time.

Examples of popular free and paid consumer cloud services include Google Docs, Google Calendar, Flickr and Amazon. Microsoft OneDrive is a good solution for personal file sharing, while Flickr and Amazon are popular solutions for backing up photos.

It’s important to note that while these services are fine for backing up non-sensitive data like music or photos, in a business environment, an enterprise cloud service like Oncloud is highly recommended to ensure sensitive business documents are 100% secure. Contact us for details on this business grade file sharing solution.

3) Run Computer System Updates

From bug fixes to security, there are many reasons to run system updates on your computer. When an update is available, many people ignore it – and that’s a big mistake. Outdated software leaves you vulnerable to security holes that hackers use to exploit your system and steal your sensitive information.

Tip: Learn how to enable automatic updates in Windows and Mac.

A Word of Caution

Be sure to allow automatic updates on your computer rather than clicking on a pop up or email you might receive.

Hackers create “bait” web pages and phishing emails that trick users into installing fake computer updates that infect your computer with malware.

As a rule of thumb, if you are prompted to update software while browsing the web, close the browser window and visit the developer’s website to confirm a security update has in fact been released.

4) Secure Your Social Network Profiles

According to emarketer, 50.3% of Americans of all ages will be on Facebook at least once a month – up from 49.3% in 2015. There’s no denying social media has become part of our lives – and it’s here to stay.

If you think your profiles and online activity is private, a simple search for your name might reveal otherwise. For this reason, it’s important to stay on top of your social profiles to make sure what was once private, stays that way.

The easiest way to do this is by signing out of each social media account to view how your profiles look to the public. If you see photos or updates that, should be private, update your security settings or remove the post entirely. On Facebook, be cautious when commenting on public figure and business pages since your comments will not be private on Facebook, regardless of your settings.

When it comes to social media, 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.

5) Organize Your Inbox

In an age where you seemingly can’t buy a pack of gum and without a request for your email address, we’re all inundated with email.

How to Organize Personal Emails

inbox zero A cluttered inbox leaves you feeling weighed down and overwhelmed. There is no better time than now to de-clutter and achieve Inbox Zero. Productivity guru Merlin Mann developed this approach that provides simple steps to manage your email and keep it almost or completely empty at all times.

For a less rigorous approach, use folders and labels to organize emails by topic. Then use rules and filters to route emails to the appropriate folders as they come in.

Is your inbox overrun with email subscriptions? A service like unroll.me allows you to see all your subscription emails at once and instantly unsubscribe from those you no longer want to receive.

How to Organize Business Emails

If you need a solid email solution for business, look no further than Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft’s answer to small business productivity gives you access to Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, along with the primary Office productivity applications.

A simple and intuitive solution, Office 365 is a tool you’ll definitely want to consider if you are looking to enhance productivity and organize your inbox. If you are interested in Office 365 for your workplace, call our office at (262) 522-8560 or send us a request online.

6) Get a Password Manager

In last month’s newsletter, we covered the risk of browser saved passwords. If you’re still saving passwords in your browser or making the mistake of using the same login for all your profiles – it’s time to invest in a password manager.

Password managers allow you to sync passwords across multiple devices, access your passwords from anywhere and best of all, you can use complicated passwords without having to remember them – and they’ll be 100% secure.

Want to know how secure your password is? Test it here and remember – if a hacker cracks your password on one website, all your accounts are at risk.

7) Secure Your Computer and Mobile Devices

Every computer with an internet connection needs a firewall and antivirus program. There are free and paid solutions available such as Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG or Norton Internet Security, to name a few.

What’s most important, is selecting a solution, updating to the latest version and running a full, deep scan to identify any issues on your PC. Be sure to scan any external drives connected to the computer. For mobile devices, Avast and AVG offer free antivirus solutions with basic features, and advanced options such as phone locator/eraser available in the paid version.

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