Cybersecurity

Don't forget your digital devices during your spring cleaning

Both individuals and businesses can benefit from going through their digital devices once a year to protect your data

NBC10 Boston

As the flowers bloom and weather gets warmer, many of us will be doing some spring cleaning around the house. But your physical space shouldn’t be the only thing getting a good scrub.

Spring is a good time to clean up your digital footprint and devices. This can help you stay organized and in control of your online presence.

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“Spring cleaning is a really good time to think about all the different settings on your devices," advises Lisa Plaggemier, the executive director at the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

Start by going through your smartphone, tablet, and computer to delete any unused apps, old files, and unnecessary documents. Not only does this free up storage space, but it also helps improve device performance.

“You want to not just delete the app, but also delete your data, like close your account. Have them completely erase all the data that they have on you,” said Plaggemier.

Protect your personal data by backing up your most important files. Use the 3-2-1 rule – have three backup copies, two different media types, and one offline in a separate location.

“Think about using one of the cloud-based, storage providers to backup all your data. Those are incredibly affordable,” suggests Plaggemier.

Make sure all your devices are secure. Check if the software is up to date. These updates often include security patches that can help to protect your device from malware and other threats.

“They're there fixes to security flaws or bugs and so if we leave those and don't run them, if we're not using the most up to date version of an operating system...especially antivirus, then there's a potential there for a data breach to happen.”

These same tips also apply to business.

“Any size business can be held hostage if their data gets out, or if credit card information is unfortunately leaked so, we want to safeguard that information,” said Paula Fleming, a spokesperson for the Boston Better Business Bureau.

The BBB recommends small business owners to do a refresh on policies and procedures around topics like record retention.

“If you're out in an open area where you have people coming in and out of your home, whether it's your checkbook or it's your client's credit card information, you have to store that in a safe, protected location,” Fleming said.

You can also spring clean your social media accounts. Review your friends and followers list – unfollow accounts that no longer interest you and consider adjusting your privacy settings to control who can see your posts and information.

For more information, click here.

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