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Spring Clean Your Digital Life

April 27, 2020 | Linda Stevenson

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Most of us are spending more time at home lately in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While many are spring cleaning your house to fill the time, it’s also important to spring clean your digital life as well. Take the time while at home to make sure you are in a healthy place with your digital life. Here are some tips from The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for doing a digital declutter.

Keep a clean machine. Keeping software updated on internet-connected devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, etc.) reduce the risk of infection from malware.

Lock down your login. Utilize the strongest authentication tools available for all your accounts. Usernames and passwords alone are not enough to protect email, banking, and social media accounts. Biometrics, security keys, or unique one-time codes sent to your mobile device are all additional measures you should implement to strengthen the security of your accounts.

Declutter your mobile life. Most of us have apps we are not using or that need updating. Go through all the apps on your phone and delete ones you are not using and update others. It’s also important to keep the operating system up to date, as the updates often have key security change in them.

Do a digital file purge. Treat your digital files like paper files. Start with your email and save only those you need and unsubscribe to emails you no longer need or want to receive. Back up important data to a secure cloud site or another device where it can be safely stored. Password protect your backup files. Also remember to backup files before you get rid of old devices.

Own your online presence. Review privacy and security settings on the websites you use. It’s OK to limit how much you share and with whom.

Know what devices to digitally shred. Think beyond your computer, phone, and tablet—they are not the only devices that capture and store sensitive information. External hard drives, USB drives, wearables, networking equipment, printers, and more can all store personal information.  Smart TV’s even have your personal login information to access streaming accounts.    Make sure you remove your personal data before disposing of any electronic device.

Clear out stockpiles. If you have old hard drives or other devices, information can still exist on them and be stolen. Wipe and/or destroy unused/unneeded hard drives.

Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices and be certain to wipe and overwrite. Deleting a file and emptying the trash bin on your computer is not enough to completely get rid of a file. Permanently delete old filed using a program that deletes the data, wipes it from your device, and overwrites it by putting random data in its place.

For more information on cyber security, visit stopthinkconnect.org. For more information on how Fisher-Titus is responding to COVID-19, visit fishertitus.org/coronavirus.

About Linda Stevenson

Linda Stevenson is the Chief Information Officer at Fisher-Titus. With over 30 years in health care, Linda has had the opportunity to support all areas of the hospital with much of her experience in managing major hospital initiatives including HIPAA, Data Security and Privacy, Meaningful Use, and electronic medical record implementations.