Many of us use spring cleaning as an opportunity to declutter our lives and begin this new season with a fresh start. While it’s easy to see the need to purge and organize our belongings, realizing the need to digital spring clean is just as important.
We’re all guilty of accumulating loads of digital clutter that needs cleaning every so often. Hundreds of piled up inbox messages, overflow of one-time logins to online stores we barely use, outdated apps still sitting on our devices, old documents we no longer need, and lots and lots of photos! Digital decluttering is important as it can significantly help protect your identity and keep personal data out of the hands of cybercriminals.
Here are five steps to include in your digital deep clean when safeguarding against cyberattacks and frauds that can compromise your data:
- Review your accounts: Go through all logins and passwords on your device. Review the sites or services that is associated with them and decide whether it is necessary for you to keep it. If the account has been inactive for a long time and you no longer need it, log in one final time, erase all your personal information, and deactivate the account.
- Create strong passwords: Using a strong and unique password for every online account helps prevent hackers from accessing your personal data. Password managers create long combinations of characters, safely stores them, and inputs them automatically when accessing an online account, keeping your digital life safe.
- Clean your browser: After some time, our browsers tend to get slower and cluttered because of the unused data that is taking up space on our devices. These clean ups are necessary to keep your devices running longer, improve speed and functionality, and upgrade online security.
- Delete old apps: Many of us are guilty of having lots of apps on our phones that we barely use. Whether it’s multiple fitness apps you may have or social media apps that you rarely use, take the time to go through them and delete the ones you no longer use along with the data associated with them.
- Organize your photos: Worldwide, around 1.72 trillion photos are taken per year. Most of us have photos sitting on our devices and taking up storage space. Take the time to clean up your photos, back them up onto your cloud, or do something special with them like having them on display in a digital picture frame for your office or home.
Like all spring cleaning, it can be a lot of work, but you’ll be glad you did it. We use shelves, drawers, and storage boxes to organize the things in our lives. When it comes to our digital lives, establishing good habits and frequent self-audits can help us stay safe and faster than ever.