Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist

Industry Resources

The days are getting longer and warmer, and the excitement of spring is in the air. For many, spring means opening the windows and deep-cleaning the dust and grime that may have accumulated over the winter months. But while you may be familiar with the concept of spring cleaning your physical space, have you ever considered a digital spring cleaning across your devices?

It’s no secret that in 2024, our digital devices make up a huge part of our lives. This means that just like our homes and offices, our smartphones, tablets, and computers can get bogged down with months or years of clutter in the form of extraneous files, passwords, photos, and more. With vast digital storage options, it may not seem like a big deal to hang on to photos from 10 years ago or save passwords from websites that you purchased from once and then never logged into again. But being a digital packrat can have its disadvantages, especially the cybersecurity risk that can come with holding onto too much data.

According to data from Statista, approximately 353 million individuals had personal information compromised in a data breach in 2023. Data breaches can include leaked passwords or personal information that can lead to identity theft or profit loss if the information leaked pertains to a business. In the age of advanced cybercriminals, it’s more important than ever to manage your data securely and safely, which includes regularly cleaning up your digital life.

If it’s been a while since you tackled your digital clutter, here are four ways to stay cybersecure with digital spring cleaning.

Clean Up Your Inbox

Do you have thousands of unread emails clogging up your notifications? Or do you have an email history going back an entire decade or more? Emails can easily hide sensitive information, and in the case of a password leak, giving cybercriminals access to your data is a recipe for disaster.

Take time to delete emails you no longer need and utilize your email provider’s search function to find old emails containing sensitive information that you may have forgotten about, such as your social security number, account numbers, or passwords. You can even bulk-delete emails from before a certain date, or purge emails from the same sender (promotional emails from online retailers tend to be the biggest culprit of inbox clutter). While you’re at it, unsubscribe from email lists that are no longer relevant to you, and close email accounts that you no longer use.

Cleaning emails can be a time-intensive endeavor, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, you can break up the task into small chunks over a week or month. Dedicate 10 minutes at the beginning or end of your day to email cleanout. Continue this habit at least once a week going forward to stay on top of things once you’ve taken care of the backlog.

Manage Your Passwords and Accounts

Are you guilty of cycling through the same handful of passwords for every account you create across websites? You may not be alone, but you’re certainly at risk of compromising your information if you continue to do so. Get into the habit of creating unique passwords for each website and app and be sure to change them frequently. If you have trouble remembering your passwords (because let’s face it, to keep yourself safe, you’ll never remember all those passwords) you can utilize a password manager or authenticator app to store your login information.  

To reduce the likelihood of one of your passwords being compromised in a data breach, you should also re-evaluate how many websites and apps you have accounts with. Chances are, you have several that you’ve only used once or twice or are not using at all. If possible, delete your data from your abandoned accounts and then close them entirely. It will be less passwords to keep track of, and less of your personal information floating around for cybercriminals to find.

Delete Photos

Is your phone’s storage almost full? The culprit is likely thousands upon thousands of photos that are taking up valuable space. A poll conducted in 2023 found that the average person has just under a whopping 2,800 photos on their mobile device, and as storage capacities continue to climb, that number will just get higher.

You may not think that storing excessive photos on your device can be a security risk, but be honest—how many times have you taken a picture of a sensitive document, such as your driver’s license, a pay stub, or a handwritten note containing your account passwords? Take some time to delete pictures and screenshots that contain sensitive information and delete those duplicate images and others you no longer need. If you really can’t bear to part with any of your photos, utilize a backup method to offload the images from your device, such as a cloud-based photo-sharing service or a flash drive.

Refresh Backups

Speaking of backups, when was the last time you made copies of your information? If your mobile device stops charging or your computer hard drive crashes and you haven’t backed up your information, you could lose years of valuable data that may be unrecoverable. Use secure, encrypted backup options like password-protected hard drives and cloud storage to keep your information safe and secure. Be sure to periodically go through your backups, as well; you only want to hang onto the most important information, so you don’t need multiple copies of the same files. 

Choose the Best Protection with LCS IT Services

For digital spring cleaning and cybersecurity for businesses, LCS IT Services can help keep your organization’s data secure. From Backup and Disaster Recovery and Advanced Cybersecurity/Anti-Virus options to cloud-based solutions and Help Desk and System Oversight, take control of your information and everything your business needs to run smoothly. If your enterprise needs secure, knowledgeable IT Services, then get in touch with our sales team to see if LCS IT Services is right for your business.