RALEIGH, N.C. – The weather is warming, inspiring people to clean up or clear the clutter.
The one area many overlook isn’t the corner of a room or a forgotten closet; it’s the digital device where you’re reading this article. We use our phones to shop, scroll through social media, bank, and work. Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Carolinas (BBB) remind everyone that when clearing out the physical clutter, there’s probably a bunch of digital data clutter that lives on your electronic devices.
If you have a few extra hours or minutes in your day, it may be a good time to give yourself a digital makeover. Taking simple, proactive steps will go a long way in safeguarding against 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 practice a few precautionary measures, and you will have greater peace of mind – not only this spring but all year round.
Check smartphones, laptops and tablets and take a few minutes to review these tips.
- Lock down your login: Security is critical to protecting accounts used for work and 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! 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, two different media types, and one offline in a separate location.
- Clean up your online presence: When did you last use all the apps on your phone or tablet? Do you know the settings on all social media accounts that check in with friends and family? Check up on all your accounts. Then, control your role by ensuring you know who has administrative access to your accounts. Keep all of your passwords private.
- Be careful what you share: Quizzes on social media are fun, and keeping in touch is necessary. However, questions on social media might give away too much information about you, your location, or your family.
In addition to following the above-listed tips, small business owners should take time to establish, update, and communicate policies and procedures around topics like record retention. It is also imperative that a cybersecurity strategy is in place and used by all employees. BBB has tips on BBB.org/bizhq on how to avoid online scams when working from home.
- BBB.org/Cybersecurity for consumers and businesses.
- BBB.org/BizHQ for resources for small businesses.
- StaySafeOnline.org for tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance.
- Federal Trade Commission’s guides for disposing of your computer or mobile device.
- IdentityTheft.gov for a customized recovery plan if you have been the victim of identity theft.
- The Internal Revenue Service advises taxpayers to protect personally identifiable information (PII) that can be used for identity theft.
- IRS tips for employers and tax preparers to protect employee and customer data.
For more information about BBB, visit BBB.org.