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Performing a Digital Spring Cleaning

Use this spring to go beyond physical cleaning and consider your virtual environment.

February 23, 2023

Spring is traditionally the time of year chosen to tackle extensive cleaning chores that are only done annually and take more effort to achieve. This spring, you might want to consider adding your facility’s digital accounts and devices to that cleaning list.

It’s easy to forget about doing digital cleanups. But taking the time to do so can result in faster systems, easier-to-find data, and greater digital safety.

Check out the following digital spring cleaning tips offered by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) and see if you can incorporate them into your own spring cleaning regime.

Online Accounts

Just like a physical environment, online accounts can get cluttered and require some straightening up. To clean up messy accounts, following these tips:

  • Close and/or delete any accounts deemed unnecessary.
  • Delete any unnecessary online information, such as old documents on cloud storage accounts.
  • Update passwords to make them more unique and more secure.

Email Accounts

Many email providers have limits on mailbox sizes, which means you could be getting close to filling up on your inbox. For security reasons, it’s also a good idea to limit what others might be able to access in your email account. Take these steps for a more organized and safer email account:

  • Check how close you are getting to your email limit. Delete old emails that are not needed or no longer relevant.
  • Organize emails you decide to keep into folders.
  • Delete any old, unimportant folders.
  • Eliminate junk email and purge email that’s sitting in the trash bin.
  • Set a rule that will automatically empty your deleted items or trash folder on a regular basis.
  • Unsubscribe to recurring emails that no longer interest you or are a waste of your time.

Social Media

Social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can easily grow without much thought on the part of their users. They are also prime targets for sabotage and scammers. Check out these tips to help clean up your social media accounts and make them less susceptible to hackers.

  • Review your security settings, friends, followers, and other connections. Make sure security settings keep out unauthorized individuals.
  • Be sure to look at posts to decide if they are no longer necessary or warranted. Removed anything that is no longer relevant, current, or desired.
  • Check to see if any social media accounts can be completely deleted or closed because of lack of necessity and use.

Devices

Hard equipment such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers should be included as part of your digital spring cleaning. Follow these tips to ensure both safety and efficiency when using your digital devices:

  • Delete unused apps and clear out any downloads you are no longer using.
  • Make sure your device requires a password, PIN, or fingerprint to log in.
  • Check for old files that can be archived or deleted. Don’t forget to empty the recycling/trash bin, if necessary.
  • Make sure your device’s operating system, security, and anti-virus software are all up to date and working properly.
  • Set software so that it automatically updates to new versions.

Web Browser Settings

Over time, the data stored by a web browser can accumulate. Take time to check the following:

  • Clear out old data in your browser and ensure your browser’s security settings are keeping you safe.
  • Make sure that autofill doesn’t contain sensitive information and that you don’t store your passwords in your browser.
  • Ask yourself if you need to keep more than one browser on your device.

Back Things Up

Spring is a good time to examine how you are backing up data and a chance to make sure that you have a complete backup of the files you need. It’s also a good opportunity to clear off any files you don’t need. Make sure you’re saving the right files and that you can truly restore everything, if and when necessary, from your choice of backup. 

Take Out the Trash

Are there old digital devices and computer equipment in your facility or at your business that should be recycled? If so, many towns and stores support e-cycling initiatives and will help you properly dispose of them. Just make sure to remove and shred or destroy hard drives and other components that might contain sensitive data.

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