What IT resolutions are you going to make for the new year?
December is the time of year when people make a list of new year resolutions. This list generally includes the basics: eat better, exercise more, end a bad habit or learn a new skill.
But wait…what if we were to include a list of technology habits to improve in our 2018 new year resolutions? We’ve done just that!
Top 8 technology resolutions for the new year.
Stop using the same password for all my work and personal accounts
Passwords are paramount to online security. Even though it’s difficult to keep track of multiple passwords, you should never use the same password for multiple accounts. Instead, use a password vault to keep them all safely in one place, locked by a single password which can be a lot more complicated and therefore less likely to be compromised.
Remember to backup my data regularly & check the backup
Backups are not the time to cross your fingers and hope for the best. Technology has come a long way over the past couple of decades, however, even the most sophisticated equipment is not safe from crashing, being hacked, or malfunctions. For this reason, those who rely heavily on stored data, need to make sure they have some type of data protection plan and that it has been regularly and successfully backed up. While the majority of small and mid-sized businesses back up their data regularly, less than one-third check to make sure their backups actually work.
Stop being fooled so easily by cybercriminals
Take time to learn how to spot email security risks and how to safeguard your email. Don’t click on links, attachments, ads, or other things that look fishy in your email. If your friend from years ago emails you a link out of the blue, it’s likely not legit. Spammers often spoof the “from” email address to make their phishing or malicious emails seem legitimate and harmless so that you’ll click on them.
Many of these emails link directly to a website that is infected with malware or contain an attachment which is malware and they infect your computer with it. This lets them use your computer as part of a larger network of compromised computers (called a botnet), or even encrypt all your files and hold them for ransom (called ransomware). Both are things you should definitely avoid and both can be prevented by being careful about what you click on.
Stop dropping food on my keyboard and mouse
How many times have you worked through your lunch and in the process have had to wipe some form of food off your keyboard or mouse? We continuously eat and drink at the computer, but we don’t often think about the crumbs and splashes of coffee that end up around our workspace. If it happens enough, crumbs can pile up underneath keys or mouse buttons and prevent them from working. Or the coffee can dry up and leave a sticky residue behind, preventing the keys from working properly.
Keep my security software up to date
The last line of defense that our computers have is our security software. If we don’t keep it up to date, we are just leaving ourselves open to more risk. Most of them will automatically download updates and only prompt when they are ready to install. All we have to do is say “yes update” to keep up to date, which is pretty easy.
Stop using unsecured Wi-Fi networks
Open Wi-Fi is nice in theory, but in reality, it can be quite dangerous. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network that doesn’t require a password, anyone else on that network can connect to you. There are ways malicious parties can set up data siphons on these networks to steal your information. Some criminals set up benign-looking Wi-Fi access points hoping people will connect to them, and once they do they steal username and password information for websites that are visited. This year, resolve to stop using unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
Set up unlock security on my phone
Yes, it’s convenient to not have to unlock your phone every time you want to use it, but that also makes it convenient for strangers to get into it too. If you don’t currently have an unlock security set up on your phone, you should set that right away. For a faster option, Android phones and iPhones both offer the ability to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, rather than typing in a code.
Recycle or donate my old unused technology
Upgrading your PC or getting a new phone, television, or sound system is something we don’t do often, but if it happens this year, don’t just store the old devices in your attic or basement. If they are very old and not working, you should recycle them. Many cities have a technology recycling day once a quarter, and businesses like Best Buy will accept your electronics to responsibly recycle them. If the device you are replacing still works decently well but you aren’t going to use it, consider donating it to Salvation Army or Goodwill, to upcycle and make the most use out of that device.