Time for some digital housekeeping

Our top 7 tips to help you manage your digital housekeeping

Not a week goes by without another high profile data breach.

With that in mind we have gathered together the top 7 tips to help you manage your digital housekeeping and keep you safe, connected and on top of your data and passwords:

Always back up everything

This should be the whole list if we’re being honest. The pain and heartache of losing data in the modern age is something we can all do without.

Providers such as Dropbox and Google Drive offer  2Gb and 15Gb of storage for free respectively. But if that’s not enough, you can easily upgrade these for around £7 a month for several terabytes.

Both systems can be integrated into the Finder or Explorer file systems on your Mac or PC so that backing up is as simple as creating a folder in that specific drive. For this, you will need to download the Dropbox or Google Drive applications onto your machine. But it’s a pretty painless process.

At the end of all of this, you will have a copy of any file you stored in these folders on your local machine, and stored online with your chosen provider.

But do remember the adage  – “if you only have one back up – you don’t have a back-up.” So for a belt and braces approach, use an external hard drive as well. These are getting much cheaper – for instance, a Seagate 3Tb drive is currently on Amazon for under £80.

Have two email addresses

Having two personal emails is always a good policy, this way you can use one to be the emergency contact for the other should you get locked out. Make one of these a Gmail address – and this is one of the reasons why…

Use Gmail tagging

Gmail comes with a “tagging” system built in. If your email address is yourname@gmail.com you can also use yourname+tagofyourchoice@gmail.com and these emails will go directly to your account with the appropriate tag added to them.

What this also means is that you can use it as an alternative email address when, perhaps, you want to extend some trial software… But, more sneakily, you can use it as…

A way to see who is selling your data…

Using this tagging trick is also a good way to see who is sharing your data. Create unique email addresses for your online accounts such as yourname+vodafone@gmail.com or yourname+netflix@gmail.com. Then if anything other than the designated mail comes through to these email addresses you’ll be able to track who has sold your data and take the appropriate action.

Set up Google alerts for your name

This used to be the preserve of clipping agencies at a vast expense a month. It’s different now. By using Google alerts you can see when you name is mentioned online. Just go to https://www.google.com/alerts and set up your query. Remember to use quotation marks to limit your search to exactly your name.

Find your passwords

We all end up creating and saving passwords and then letting our browser remember the consequences…

Depending on your browser – you can retrieve these fairly easily:

If you store your passwords in your Chrome browser – you can retrieve them at passwords.google.com. Just log in and scroll for the site you wanted the stored password for.

In Internet Explorer – depending on your version, you can retrieve passwords in your Credential Manager. An explanation of how to do this can be found here.

If you are using a Mac – you might also be able to retrieve passwords using Keychain Access. Simply go to Applications >> Utilities >> Keychain Access and you will be able to search for the relevant item.

Alternatively, you can use a good password manager such as 1Password or LastPass to keep your passwords, strong, safe and easily accessible.

Manage your data after you’re gone

Google and Facebook both have protocols in place to manage your accounts should you become incapacitated for some reason. Access to your accounts can be granted to another person after a certain amount of time, in the case of Google, or after Facebook has been informed of you have passed on.

To access Facebook “Legacy Contact”, log in to Facebook and go to Settings > Security > Legacy Contact

And the Google Inactive Account Manager can be found here.