Long gone are the days where you could write down your most precious secrets in a
journal or diary, stash them under your mattress, and cross your fingers hoping that no
one would ever find your hidden treasure!
Now, everything from your social security number to your mother’s maiden name can be
found online. And as cyber thieves and hackers hone in on their skills, it’s more
important than ever that you get defensive with your online security.
We organize our homes to maximize our time and create habits that improve our well-
being. We tidy up our offices so we can work without the distractions and clutter
inhibiting our efficiency. But what about the online space?
A recent study shows that American adults spend a whopping 24 hours a week online!
That’s a part-time job in and of itself. Whether you’re shopping online, working, reading
news articles, or scrolling through Facebook, you should be organized to help secure
every gigabyte of your valuable information.
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to stay ahead of the game!
With a few downloads, you can easily protect yourself, stay organized, and browse the
internet with ease.
Purchase A VPN
Coffeehouse jazz, a few Americanos, and free wifi, there’s nothing like opening up your
laptop at your favorite cafe! But while the espresso machine hums in the background,
your online security is seriously in danger.
Whenever you log on to public wifi, you have to succumb to the demands of the wifi
provider. Have you ever read the small print under the “Terms & Conditions?” None of
us have! We just flippantly click ‘yes’ and continue browsing, not knowing where on
Earth our data is heading.
And beyond that, when you use public wifi, you’re risking the chance that a hacker could
intercept your data! As someone who loves a good work session at the local coffee
house, there are easy ways to get around this.
Consider buying a VPN (Virtual Private Network)! To put it simply, think of a VPN as a
vault that protects your information. Whether you’re looking through credit card
statements from an online banking website or entering your password on a social media
account, to outside forces, your information, location, and IP address are completely
locked, shielding you from exploitative online hackers.
Create Multiple Email Accounts
We’re all guilty of signing up for an email list at a store just to snag an extra 10%
discount! But when you consider how many times you give up your email address (in
person or online), you’ll start to realize that you’re putting a lot of trust into companies
you might not know much about.
From Verizon and AT&T to Facebook, in the past few years, it has become very clear
that we can’t even trust our information with the big players. So, if you love to sign up for
deals, just make sure you’re doing so safely.
Create a designated email address that isn’t linked to any of your accounts that store
important information. If you want to create an account specifically for online stores that
you enjoy, great!
If you love to get your social media fix and need to create a new account, use a
designated “social media” email address. Just make sure that work and personal emails
cannot be linked in any way. You get the deals, the likes, and the followers... and your
online security remains intact!
Find A Password Manager
These days, hackers are getting so savvy that we practically have to create a
hieroglyphic password to adequately create a secure online account! On the other hand,
if your password for every account is your birthday backward, it’s probably about time
you got serious about password protection!
There’s one simple online tool that will help you create strong passwords without
mulling your brain. Password managers do a fantastic job of storing all your passwords
in encrypted form, so you never have to worry about losing access to important
Password managers store your account information for all of the websites you use. This
virtual vault can only be opened with your master password (which means you only
really have to remember one)! It’s the easiest way to stay safe online and ensure that
you won’t be calling customer support to help unfreeze your account.
Creating an organized life isn’t just about tidying up the medicine cabinet. It starts in
your email inbox as well! Waking up to endless emails about flash-sales and new
product launches for companies you don’t even remember signing up for is not how you
want to start a productive day.
If you’re ready to clear out the clutter, you can use a free service such as Unroll Me!
Within seconds, you’ll have access to every email list you’ve ever subscribed to, and in
minutes, you can unsubscribe or change your preferences!
Instead of weeding through your inbox (which, let’s be honest, is mostly junk mail), you
can go to one website and totally minimize your notifications. With work emails,
Facebook notifications, and system updates, don’t you hear enough dinging throughout
the day? You’ll be amazed at how good a little online cleanse can feel.
Organize With An External Hard Drive
How many precious documents, pictures, and memories do you have stored on your
computer? What if you lost access to your computer today? Do you have a backup
system in place?
Whether you have the newest computer on the market or are working with an absolute
dinosaur, there’s always a chance that you could lose everything on your hard drive.
You’ll hear horror stories of small business owners who experience total system shut
down and lose all of their clients’ information. There are journalists who get hacked and
have their hard drive held at ransom. While these stories sound extreme, you don’t have
to be high-profile to be cyber attacked, and protection could be as cheap as a one-time
payment of $30!
By saving pictures, videos, documents, files, tax returns, and important emails on an
external hard drive, you can rest easy knowing that even if your computer is
compromised, you have backup storage that’s protected and accessible.
In one afternoon you can protect yourself and create files and folders to organize all of
your important data, so it’s there whenever you need it. It’s 2019, and for most of us, our
lives are online! Let’s make this the year where we tidy up every single detail—and that
includes the online world as well!
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business.