Five New Years Tech Resolutions
New Years is a great time for reflection. A new start. A new set of opportunities. A time to do things differently. While you are cleaning out your closets and figuring out which gym to join, spend some time planning how you can do some new great things in your technology life. Here are five places to start.
Mobile Security - Smartphones are amazingly easy to lose, and it happens all the time. Make sure you do the minimum by turning on a password or passcode, although free software can defeat those in a few minutes. Software like Lookout (www.lookout.com) for your smartphone can provide awesome functionality like locating your phone on a map, automatically taking a picture, wiping the phone remotely and notifying you if the phone is powered off or altered. Make sure whatever solution you use supports malware detection.
Two Factor Authentication - Passwords are fatally flawed for lots of reasons, and provide only one layer of security, the "something you know". Add another layer of security to your online accounts by using two factor, or two step authorization. It is the "something you have" layer of protection required for accessing your accounts. For google you can use a smart token or an auth code generator. Bank of America uses text messaging. As long as you require the "something you have" for access, the bad guys won't get in.
Friends & Followers - Just like your closets, your lists of friends need to be cleaned out. Consider who the chatter-boxes are, and whether you still want them in your feed. The day I dropped Guy Kawasaki was the day I could start using my Twitter feed again. Take a look at your feeds for a day, and see where all the traffic comes from. Don't be shy about dropping people, they won't take it personally.
Apps - We all suffer from "bright shiny object" syndrome when it comes to apps on our smartphones and PCs. Cleaning them up by removing the ones you don't use will free up memory and in general help your system. If you haven't used it in 3 to 6 months, you don't need it. Get rid of it
Backups - If you don't protect your information, you will eventually loose it. Period. There are easy ways to do backups, and depending on how much money you want to spend, it can be all but idiot proof. Apple Computers have a great "time machine" backup facility. Lots of third party solutions for PCs, based on USB connected external hard drives. Cloud based backups are about as easy as it gets. I have use Carbonite (www.Carbonite.com) before, which is about $50 a year or so. Mozy (www.Mozy.com) is another cloud based solution.