Many people are inspired to clean up or clear out clutter in the spring. The one area many people overlook isn’t the corner of a room or a forgotten closet. It’s probably the digital device you’re using to read this article. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds everyone that when clearing out the physical clutter, there’s probably a bunch of digital data clutter that lives on your electronic devices.

Taking some simple, proactive steps will go a long way in safeguarding against any number of potentially disruptive issues like identity theft, loss of funds or credit card fraud that can cause mayhem by compromising your data.  Take the time to put into practice a few precautionary measures and you will have greater peace of mind – not only this spring, but all year round.

If you have a few extra hours or minutes in your day, it may be a good time to give yourself a digital makeover

NCSA and the BBB are encouraging people to check their smartphones, laptops and tablets and take a few minutes to review these tips. 

  • Lock down your login: Security is critical to protecting accounts being used for work and for home. Ensure passphrases for each account are lengthy, unique, and safely stored. Enable 2-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it. 
  • Update your system and software: Avoid procrastination! Having the most current software, web browsers, and operating systems are some of the easiest and fastest ways to protect your most sensitive assets.  
  • Back it up: Protect your personal and workplace data by making electronic copies – or backups – of your most important files. Use the 3-2-1 rule to help guide you: 3 backup copies, 2 different media types, and 1 offline in a separate location.
  • Clean up your online presence: When was the last time you used all the apps on your phone or tablet? Do you know what the settings are on all the social media accounts that check in with friends and family? Check up on all your accounts. Then, control your role by making sure you know who has administrative access to your accounts. Keep all your passwords private.
  • Be careful what you share: Quizzes on social media are fun and keeping in touch is a necessity these days. However, questions on social media might give away too much information about you, your location or your family.

Source: BBB.org

In addition to following the above-listed tips, business owners should take time in establishing, updating and communicating policies and procedures around topics like record retention. It is also imperative that a cybersecurity strategy is in place and used by all employees.

NCSA has advice on how to keep your private information safe. BBB has tips on BBB.org/bizhq on how to avoid online scams when working from home. If you’ve been targeted by this or another scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker.