Issue No. 125January 2023
2023 New Year’s Resolutions – IT Style!
As 2022 finally transitions to the rear-view mirror and we begin 2023, many of you may have committed to New Year’s resolutions in hope of self-improvement or breaking bad habits. While you work towards improving your mental and physical health, its also worth turning your attention towards your digital well-being. With that in mind, below we’ve identified some key areas that might be worth of 2023 cleanup, IT style. We hope you’ll find these tips helpful and easy to work into your routine!
Start with Unsubscribe – throughout the year we find ourselves on any number of marketing emails. The New Year is a great opportunity for cleaning out your Inbox! Most marketing messages include a link to unsubscribe. In fact, this is how I typically clean up my subscriptions, by searching for the word unsubscribe in my inbox. If all the messages you find come back as unread, that might be a good indicator that you can safely hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button. Of course, you’d never do that to us though, right?
- Screentime Schmeantime – this might be an area that doesn’t strictly fall under the IT umbrella, but paying attention to the amount of screentime you engage in on a daily basis is a great first step towards improving your online well-being. Many of you may have heard the phrase ‘doom-scrolling’ that was seemingly coined during the pandemic—social media algorithms are specifically designed to capture your attention in order to serve you ads. Content that is shocking, angering, or divisive in some way has proven to be well-suited for this task, but can have a deleterious effect on your mental and physical well-being. Be intentional about how much time you spend scrolling through a news or social media feed. If you feel its excessive, think about cutting back, or cordoning that time off to only a specific timeslot in the day.
- Computers Need Housekeeping Too – silly though it may sound, your computer can definitely benefit from the occasional house cleaning, physically and digitally. Physically cleaning your computer is fairly straightforward, and usually just focuses on removing dust from around fans and heatsinks to help ensure your computer cools itself effectively. On the digital side, empty your recycle bin, run a cleanup operation on the hard disk, and make sure your computer is current on updates. If all these options have been exhausted and performance is still lacking, consider using a third party tool like CCleaner. Although it has paid features, those that are freely accessible go a long way towards improving your computer’s performance. A word of caution – Ccleaner is neither fool-proof nor ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Make sure you understand the implications of any cleanup operation a third party tool wants to perform, and make sure you have a good backup prior to performing them. Speaking of backups…
- SET UP A BACKUP – look, I’m sorry for shouting, but this is one of those critically important things that so often gets overlooked. All of us have critical data on our computers, whether those are photos of your nephew’s neighbor’s new puppy, or a solid rough draft of the next Great American Novel™, its crucial that these files are backed up to a different location than just your computer. There are many services you can use to back your computer up to cloud-based infrastructure. The benefit of these are that maintenance of physical media isn’t your concern, so you don’t have to worry about a hard drive failure or losing backup media. On the other hand, having a physical copy of your data stored locally (in your house, office, etc.) ensure that the data isn’t transmitted somewhere you’d rather it not be sent, and that any restoration of the data will only be limited by local transfer speeds, rather than dependent on an internet connection as with a cloud-hosted service.
- Setup Multi-Factor Authentication Wherever Possible – The unfortunate reality of the modern digital age is that threat actors are everywhere, and are constantly going to attempt to separate you from your money through nefarious means. This also means that it is incumbent upon you to secure your data against bad actors. One of the best and most straightforward ways to do this is by enabling multi-factor (sometimes referred to as two-factor) authentication wherever you can. This means that in order to access the account, you have to provide something that you know (your password) and something that you have with you (your multi-factor authentication code/acceptance). Most online services have this available as an optional (if not mandatory) option to secure your login. If they don’t, let them know its 2023 and its well-past time to get it implemented.
Start 2023 out strong by implementing some of the digital well-being steps we’ve outlined above. Each of these steps will continue to pay dividends throughout the year. Many of us wish we could say the same about that gym membership we bought on January 1st. For more information on this or any other IT related topic, please reach out to your IT services provider. We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!