Spring has sprung. And for many households, that means it’s time to clean, organize, and declutter their homes. It’s also important, however, to conduct a digital spring cleaning on your electronic devices.  Failing to do so could result in identity theft, fraud, loss of funds, and loss of company data. Now that much of our lives are being conducted online, focusing on cybersecurity and protecting sensitive information has become critical. NCSA has advice on how to keep this information safe.

“Cleaning out digital clutter and backing up devices are processes which are often overlooked,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas said. “However, it could make all the difference should your device(s) fail or become infected with malware or viruses.”

Conducting a digital spring cleaning is not only necessary, it is relatively easy. NCSA and BBB advise the following:

Lockdown your login Security is critical to protecting accounts being used for work and for home. Ensure passphrases for each account are lengthy, unique, and safely stored. Enable multi-factor authentication on all accounts that offer it.

Update your system and software. Having the most current software, web browsers, and operating systems are some of the easiest and fastest ways to protect your most sensitive assets.

Back it up. Protect your personal and workplace data by making electronic copies – or backups – of your most important files. Use the 3-2-1 rule to help guide you: 3 backup copies, 2 different media types, and 1 offline in a separate location.

Clean up your online presence. Delete all unused apps, empty recycle bins, review social media account privacy settings, delete old photos, review the strength of your passwords, delete nonessential friends and followers, and make updates where needed.

Dispose of electronics securely. Many of us have a stockpile of unused electronic devices. It’s important to dispose of these items securely by permanently deleting old files and wiping it from the device before destroying, disposing of, donating, or selling the device. Consider disposing of the item at BBB Secure Your ID Day which will be conducted at BBB Tyler Offices on Saturday, June 19, 2021.

In addition to following the above-listed tips, small business owners should take time in establishing, updating and communicating policies and procedures around topics like record retention. It is also imperative that a cybersecurity strategy is in place and used by all employees. BBB has tips on BBB.org/smallbusiness on how to avoid online scams when working from home.

To companies you can trust, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call (903)581-5784 or use BBB Scam Tracker.

ABOUT BBB®: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.