Spring has sprung and now it’s time for the dreaded, but ultimately satisfying, spring cleaning. Most chores are often put off or forgotten, but we’re here to help. Wash windows? Check. Dust shelves? Check. Clear data and reset passwords? Oh, good idea! Refreshing the well-being of your data could help prevent major headaches down the road, simply by following these steps:
“Before you delete the software, clean out and close your account with the company so it retains the smallest amount of data possible about you.”1 Be sure to review the app’s Terms of Service regarding data handling procedures. When you close an account, some of your basic data may still remain, but taking these steps will keep the account from staying active and potentially continuing to collect data.
Check browser settings and clear out old data such as cleared passwords and auto filed information. Also delete any unused browsers, and clear the cookies of your primary browser.
“Anything that has the ability to store information can retain that information even after you have deleted it, including ones that aren’t obvious, such as phones, wearables, networking equipment, copiers, printers and fax machines.”2 These devices should be handled as if they were credit cards. You can easily find links on the internet about how to securely get rid of your device. YouTube is a great resource for things of this nature.
There are electronic recycling events in several communities where you can bring your old devices and recycle or donate them. For Bergen County, NJ residents, the link below shows what devices are accepted and the locations for recycling.
Reset all of your passwords and have a “password purge” in order to avoid using the same one for years on an account that does not prompt you to change it after a fixed amount of time. Also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. If you use one password for everything and someone gets a hold of it, they can gain access to everything else, too.
These four steps are easy to do and beneficial to the security of your information and devices. So, as you dust off your desk for spring cleaning, dust off your data, too!
By: Matthew McCaffrey