Page 5 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- April 2018
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Protect Your Digital Data By Conducting A Spring Cleaning
Patricia Barton
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourage both consumers and businesses to protect their digital data by conducting a spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a time to dig deep and get rid of any items you may no longer need, including outdated business docu- ments. While you may often remember to shred and properly discard documents con- taining your business’ sensitive information, it is easy to forget about those things you can’t physically touch, such as your digital footprint. That’s why it’s important to do a “digital spring cleaning” in addition to your regular maintenance.
“As a professional, it’s easy to accumulate a large amount of digital data in just a short amount of time,” said Melanie Duquesnel, President and CEO of BBB Serving Eastern Michigan. “That’s why we urge all business- es to properly dispose of their digital files when they are no longer needed. Hackers are always looking for opportunities to scam you and your business.”
Digital spring cleaning also involves
updating your passwords and taking addi- tional digital steps to ensure your personal information is secure.
BBB and the NCSA urge consumers to fol- low this four-week outline and clean up their online life with an easy-to-follow timeline and plan.
Week 1: Keep Machines Clean
As a very basic first step, make sure all web- connected devices ? including personal com- puters (PCs), mobile phones, smartphones and tablets ? are free from malware and infections.
• Keep all critical software current: Having all software current is one of the best security measures to take. This includes security soft- ware, web browsers, document readers, operat- ing systems and any other software regularly used.
• Clean up your mobile life: Most of us have apps we no longer use as well as ones that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile device. An added benefit of deleting unused apps is more storage space and longer battery life. Actively manage location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera – making sure apps use them appropriately.
Week 2: Make Sure You’re Secure
Building on Week 1, users can enhance the security of their online accounts – a fast and simple way to be safer online. There are quick and easy things you can do that have long-term safety and security benefits.
• Get two steps ahead: Turn on two-step authentication ? also known as two-step verifi- cation or multi-factor authentication ? on accounts where available. Many of the inter- net’s most popular email services, social net- works and financial institutions offer this key security step free of charge, but you must opt in to turn it on. Visit sahead to learn more and view a list of the web-
sites that offer two-step authentication.
• Secure your router: Make sure your router has a strong password and does not broadcast who you are through its name, such as “the Jones Family” or “123 Elm Street.” Update
router software as well.
• Create better passwords: If your passwords
are too short or easy to guess, it’s like leaving the front door to your home unlocked. Longer passwords and those that combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols provide better protection.
• Unique account, unique password: Hav- ing separate passwords? at least for key accounts like email, banking, and social networking ? helps to thwart cybercriminals.
• Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place.
• Secure your phone: Use a passcode or a fin- ger swipe to unlock your phone.
Week 3: Digital File Purge and Protection
Tend to your digital records, PCs, phones and any device with storage just as you would paper files.
• Clean up your email: Save only emails you really need. Your inbox is likely stuffed with lots of outdated materials. Delete or archive what you don’t need and be sure to empty your delet- ed mail folders.
• File upkeep: Delete or archive older files such as numerous drafts of the same document and outdated financial statements.
• Manage subscriptions: Unsubscribe to newsletters, email alerts and updates you no longer read.
• Dispose of electronics securely: Wiping data isn’t enough. When you dispose of old electronics, look for facilities that shred hard
drives, disks and memory cards.
• Update your online photo album: Back up
photos you want to keep and delete old or less flattering pictures of yourself and your family and friends. In addition to not showing your best side, they take up space.
• Update your online relationships: Review friends on social networks and contacts on phones and PCs to make sure everyone on those lists still belong.
• Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or to another drive where it can be safely stored. Password protect backup drives and keep them in a different location off the network for maximum security. Commit to doing backups on a regular basis.
• Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices: Make sure to permanently delete old files.
Week 4: Clean Up Your Online Reputation
Parents and older kids with social media accounts can take an active role in making sure their online reputation is squeaky clean.
• Own your online presence: Review the pri- vacy and security settings on websites to be sure they remain set to your comfort level for shar- ing. It’s OK to limit whom you share informa- tion.
• Clean up your social media presence: Delete old photos and comments that are embarrassing or no longer represent who you are.
• Update your “online self”: Are your social media sites up to date? Review your personal information and update it where needed.
For further support, businesses can do a cyber safety check-up with BBB’s “5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity” at rity.
Schneider, Larche
Haapala & Co., PLLC
Certified Public Accountants & Consultants
906-786-6151 • 1-800-562-4821 • 401 Ludington Street • Escanaba
• Accounting and Auditing Services • Payroll Services
• Tax Planning and Preparation
• Electronic Filing
• Financial Planning and Consulting
• Computer Software Consulting
• Management Consulting and Advisory Services
• Bookkeeping and Computerized Accounting
• Pension Consultants and Retirement Planning
• Business Valuation • Estate Planning
David P. Pechawer, CPA - Partner Bruce D. Dewar, CPA - Partner Denise M. Boyle, CPA - Partner Karen L. Meiers, CPA - Partner

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