Gone are the times when having multiple digital accounts and gadgets are only for tech geeks. Today, just about everyone manages different online accounts in various mobile devices. While this indicates a forward-thinking culture, it unfortunately puts people’s machines and data at risk, as cyber-criminals tend to use exploiting digital clutter as a primary tactic. To keep your personal information and gadget safe, organize your digital life by following these 5 simple steps:
STEP 1: Remember.
Jot down all the cloud accounts and apps you have. Make a table with two columns. Put the ones you actively access in the first column and place those that you don’t really use in the other. For example, do you still use the Hotmail account that you created back in college with a regrettable username? I bet you don’t even remember it anymore. The majority of the population is now using Gmail for personal and business communications. Thus, put Hotmail in column 2. How about your MySpace account, the one with a fake profile? Do you still use it? If yes, put it in the first column. Do this for the web applications you have on your computer, tablet or business phone.
STEP 2: Delete.
Close or delete all the accounts and uninstall the apps you put in column 2. It’s highly probable that you’ve forgotten the passwords of some of your accounts, making it impossible for you to delete them. If this is the case, just let them be. But, there’s no harm in trying out various password permutations before giving up. Always keep in mind that letting your accounts float around in the Internet is risky.
STEP 3: Update.
After getting rid of all the online redundancies you placed in column 2, you can now proceed to editing your profile in your online accounts in column 1. Why is it important that you update your personal information? It’s because, when you apply to companies for work, hiring managers check them out. Therefore, you have to make sure that all your personal information is always true and accurate. For instance, if your Yahoo! account username is "cutegirl_23", you should change it to your real name. It’s best to include your surname in the end, because that lowers the possibility of another person having the same username. Just keep everything simple and professional. In addition to that, make sure that your digital profile is consistent across all the social networking sites that you use. This way, you become more credible and thus hirable.
STEP 4: Change passwords.
If changing your passwords on a monthly basis is not yet part of your regular routine, start the habit now. It’s harder to hack your accounts if you keep changing your passwords. Also, make your passwords unpredictable. The general rule of thumb is to use at least 8 alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric characters with at least one capitalized letter. It’s also critical that you keep all your passwords in your accounts unique from each other. But how do you keep track of these hard-to-hack password combinations?
You have three options. The first is to rely on your memory. It’s a good practice for your brain. The second recall system you can use is listing down clues for your passwords. Make the clues very personal; such that if someone finds your list, they won’t understand them. The last option is to deploy a trustworthy password manager, like Trend Micro’s DirectPass.
STEP 5: Encrypt.
To protect your valuable personal data, deploy a security software or app that has automatic data encryption.
Developments in technology, phone systems and lifestyle have made our digital and real lives inseparable. Make sure you secure both facets of your being by maintaining an organized digital life.