Four Things You Should Be Doing Online

Now that the new year is well underway, you’ve likely made and abandoned a few resolutions. But don’t give up on change entirely. Here are four resolutions for your online life for the new year:

1. Back Up Your Stuff

If you’re not in the habit of regularly backing up your files, you’re asking for trouble. Consider what would happen if your computer suddenly crashed. How would you retrieve your files? Files that haven’t been backed up can’t be retrieved. There are any number of methods to back up your information, from using external hard drives to storing your files in the cloud. There are many options and we’ll cover some of them in an upcoming article.

2. Use Two-Factor Authentication

As we’ve discussed in this space before, two-factor authentication is the most secure method currently available for protecting your online life. Yes, it’s one more step that you must take to access your information, but better that than have your online life hacked into, right?

3. Read the Terms of Service

Everyone does this to varying degrees – we sign up for a service or membership to a website and gloss over the Terms of Service in our eagerness to just get on with the business at hand. We assume that whatever it is we’re agreeing to is benign and harmless and just a way for the company issuing the TOS to cover their legal bases. For the most part, this is true. However, blindly agreeing to the Terms of Service could cost you ownership of your data and loss of control over it. Read the Terms of Service. Every time.

4. Check/Recheck Privacy Settings

Privacy settings for websites such as Amazon or services such as iTunes can change without your knowledge or consent, particularly if site controls have been updated. (The Terms of Service might even spell that out, if you actually read them.) A review of your privacy settings will assure that your information continues to be just as you want it; make the effort to check this regularly, particularly if you’ve stored sensitive personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, or credit cards on a site.

Even though we’re well into the new year, it’s still possible to make and keep resolutions. The nice thing about change is that you don’t have to wait for a brand new year to start over. You can do it any time. For the sake of your online life, doing these four things will preserve your sanity as well as your private information.