August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
I am a bit of a trivia obsessed person; it comes with being in Business Continuity or Project Management (sigh). One of those trivia sources is ‘new words or phrases’ – hopefully these new words or phrases can describe a whole concept and save me time and breath.
The new phrase of the week is “Cyber Hygiene”. OK, the first thought was that it was elementary school and the Physical Ed or Health Ed teacher was going to deliver ‘the talk on personal hygiene’ – gender segregation of course…. Got a smile on your face?
Upon reflection and over the last couple days, this phrase has started to creep into the corners of my daily tasks. As I do both BCPW work and my volunteering duties, I started realizing how much I touch ‘cyber-space’ and that I have NOT done as much as I should to keep my areas clean (aka Hygiene). I have some daily or weekly habits, but not as disciplined on the other actions…. Must improve!
So let’s start listing all the areas that need to be cleaned up as these are your business tools, just like a good carpenter would keep tools sharp, clean and ready; we need to keep our tools ready to work! You should add more items to each of these lists as you find more way to keep your devices ‘sharp’.
Don’t try to do these all at once, you’ll get frustrated with your discoveries and discouraged! Take one device a day to get the base-line cleaning done, and then set your maintenance schedule.
Mobile/Smart phones: your battery will last longer if your device does not have to be constantly saving, sending and searching.
- Delete those old phone calls
- Delete the old photos that are saved in multiple other locations
- Delete old text messages
- Check your email process: does your phone delete emails that you have administered on the PC? If not you are carrying lots of ‘old baggage’
- Check your music or video storage for old, not desired material (Big memory hogs!)
- Only turn on Cellular, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, when you need to use it!
- Verify your Privacy settings at least once a month
- How many sessions are open on your device? Do you need all those waiting and searching all the time?
- Turn your device completely off at least once per week, if not overnight
- Have your charging cable plugged into a surge protected power strip
Local Printer: this one is scary, as printers have internal memory buffers or queues – especially if they do double-sided printing, scanning, faxing, etc.
- Check with your printer vendor for details on cleaning out these queues, if it’s not obvious on the device
- If your printer has a PC interface it will make cleaning much easier than trying to focus on the itty bitty screen on the printer
- Clean out the printer queue
- Clean out the scanner queue
- Clean out the FAX queue
- Turn off the printer from any router at least once per week
- If your printer vendor offers security updates automagically, take them!
- Have your printer plugged into a surge protected power strip
Personal PC or Mac (desktop or laptop)
- Change your power-on password at least quarterly. More often if you use it in public networks (coffee shops, airports, etc.)
- Run your base or primary Security software automagically and make sure you review the ‘delete or contained’ buckets to remove anything it finds
- Additional security applications should be done either automagically or on a personal determined schedule (Thursday morning is my time for these)
- Run defragmentation automagically; once per week if my default
- Defragmentation will remove gaps in your hard drive and give you more space
- Check your Recycle bin and clean it out weekly
- If using an attached backup hard drive, make sure it gets defragged too (usually PC admin function will do this)
- Set up ‘automatic backup’ on any of your working applications like word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, etc. (Many applications have defaults so review to see if that’s quick enough for your working habits)
- Check your email ‘drafts’ area for old dusty files
- Check the ‘temp file’ areas for old files (yes, there are several)
- Check the ‘download’ area for old files
- Review your working file area for multiple backups – how many do you really need (this is a document retention conversation) and if the backup drive already has several layers you don’t need them in the active working area.
- Check your Recycle bin after each of the ‘cleaning sessions’
- What about all the pictures or videos – are they stored on another device or burned on a CD?
- How many sessions do you have open? Do you need all those? These will decrease your machine response time
- You do need to run your device on battery often, so the battery knows how to work. If you only use direct power your battery will decrease its capacity over time – don’t expect the battery to last 4 hours if you have not used the battery for a couple months – you’ll be lucky to be running an hour!
- You need to completely shut down your device at least once per week
- Have your device plugged into a surge protected power strip
- AND then there is your internet browser…
- Separate tools for keeping the favorites, frequently used URLs (2 areas), and multiple sessions. If these are cluttered, it will decrease your response times too
- Need to change the password at least monthly if you are living in a highly populated area or near high traffic areas
- This means all the devices that are ‘attached’ to the router need to be updated with each change
- If you have ‘uninvited’ visitors using your router, they have access to every other device if they are curious
- Shut down your router when on away from area for extended period of time
- Modem: check with your provider to see what the allowable ‘power off’ time is before they cancel the account We turned both modem & router off for a couple weeks and had to have several conversations to re-activate the modem account (sigh)
- Have both devices plugged into a surge protected power strip
Reminder: Don’t try to do these all at once, you’ll get frustrated with your discoveries and discouraged! Take one device a day to get the base-line cleaning done, and then set your maintenance schedule.