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Time for that Digital Spring Clean

Time for that Digital Spring Clean

Remove out of date information and files

In our Data Protection Principles guide you’ll notice that you should not store certain information longer than is necessary.

Cleaning out old emails, files and paperwork must be considered part of your business compliance, and not an ‘If we have time’ task.

The retention policies for your data should not exceed what is reasonable, for certain types of data there are guidelines (e.g. 6 or 10 years however some types of data should not be retained longer than a few minutes) these are industry specific and you should seek professional advice to remain compliant.

Physically clean your equipment

Keyboards can be 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet, read here for more gross data about your office equipment.

Giving your keyboards, mice, monitors and printers a good old fashioned bit of elbow grease is a great way to get started on your spring clean.  Finger prints on displays can be easily removed with a micro-fibre cloth and the slightest dab of water (not so its dripping, get it so its not even damp).

For devices with fans like your PC, TV set-top-box or hard to reach places an Air Duster is a great way to dislodge dry dust which you can then vacuum right out of the air.  Never use one of these cans upside down and always switch off the equipment at the socket before spraying.

Remove unused software

Take a look at your installed software list and remove anything you haven’t used for a while.  Here’s a really simple guide on how to remove software in Windows 10.

Clear your cache and temporary files

Windows comes with a great built in tool to clean up temporary space on your computer safely without having to poke around the dark corners of your system.

To delete temporary files:

  1. Search for Disk cleanup from the taskbar and select it from the list of results.
  2. Under Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
  3. Select OK.

If you need to free up more space, you can also delete unused system files:

  1. In Disk cleanup, select Clean up system files.
  2. Select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
  3. Select OK.

Unsubscribe from emails you no longer delete

Do you have emails you delete without reading?  Even if you spend a week diligently unsubscribing you can cut these emails right down.

  • For emails you know you signed up for, click unsubscribe.
  • For emails you don’t remember signing up for mark as spam.

Top Tip – Create a rule for your emails, if the email contains the word ‘Unsubscribe’ move it to a different folder and only check this occasionally.

How to create a filter in: Gmail | outlook/

Take a backup and keep it away from your computer

If you’ve read our guide on backup best practice, you’ll already be a backup-ninja!  if you havn’t taken a backup of your important photos, files and favourites in a while do this today!  Keep the backup at a friends or even in the car.  If something awful happens like a fire keeping your backups with the computer won’t help.

Social Media

Having a detox on social media can help you see more of the articles and links you are interested in.

  • On Facebook ‘unfollow’ someone.  This has the benefit of remaining ‘friends’ however you don’t see their posts about what their pug has done on you timeline.
  • Also on Facebook you can turn off notifications for groups, freeing you up to visit them when you want and not have them tell you every-time someone sneezes!
  • On Twitter use their Lists feature to organise your groups, you can do this privatly so other people can’t see your lists.  If its your  business Twitter account it can be helpful to group local business’s, clients etc. publicly to help people understand how you engage with them on the network.
  • Enable two-factor authentication on all the services.  This is an essential step today and all the key networks support them, the security benefits cannot be understated.

Photo by Lee Edwin Coursey

About The Author

Niki Odolphie

Niki Odolphie is the chief tech guru at Somerset Online Ltd who provide IT support for home and small business across Somerset and Wiltshire.

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