The New Year is here and I'm sure most of you have already decided on your resolutions. Let's face it, 2023 was tough. A fresh start is what many of you are looking for in 2024, so when you resolve to make positive changes to your personal life, take a moment to make some resolutions for your digital life as well. Just like good personal habits help you live a longer and fuller life, good tech habits help your technology last longer and prevent you from falling victim to many of the scams out there that threaten your tech devices and your data. There are so many habits you should pick up when it comes to using your technology. Here are some important ones you need to use in the coming year.
Get on Board with AI. Generative tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney took over the tech space in 2023 and their popularity will increase in 2024. These tools are essential replacements for standard web searches like Google allowing you to find information in one search rather than scouring the Internet for information. This is helpful if you need ideas for starting a business to helping your kids with homework. They also allow you to create websites, and PowerPoint slides and get help for anything home and work-related. Get started by downloading the ChatGPT app and use it rather than Google and watch your digital life transform.
Build Your Build Human Firewall. Cybercrime is a human problem. Every device you own such as your smartphone, computer, and other gadgets is safe from hacks, however, if you accidentally click on a link in an email or text message, all of your systems can get compromised. By doing things like using 2-factor authentication for all of your online accounts, using a password manager, rather than trying to remember all of your online account credentials, and using passphrases rather than passwords, criminals will never get access to your devices.
Sign up for a Technology Services Plan. In this day and age, technology is always changing which can make your digital lifestyle complicated. To ease that technology stress can confusion, you should sign up for a managed services plan for your home or business. Most tech support services plans can monitor all of your devices to give you a heads up if you have a device failing and they can provide 24/7 phone and remote tech support to help you solve problems with your smart home, smart TV, and any other device in your home and office.
Configure Your Devices to Automatically Backup to a Cloud Storage Service. You can easily replace your computers, smartphones, and tablets. Your data such as baby's first photos, wedding pictures, and holiday videos, can't be replaced when lost. Even if there was a chance to reclaim those old files could cost thousands if you let us at Integral attempt to retrieve them from you. External hard drives can be used for backup, but most of you won't remember to plug them into your devices to have them back up. Resolve this year to have your devices automatically back up that information to the cloud. Unfortunately, there are no free services that allow you to do this, but most backup services average around $70 a year which is a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing your files are safe and secure. Not sure what to use?
iPhones and iPad: iCloud. (www.icloud.com) Apple starts you off with a small amount of storage for your tech devices, but for a small monthly fee, you can increase that storage to backup all of your important files on your iPhone, iPad and even your iMac and Macbook.
Android Phones and Tablets: Google Drive. (www.google.com) Google follows the same model as Apple by giving you a free amount of storage space, but for a small monthly fee you can have all of your Android devices and your Windows and Apple computers backed up to the cloud.
Use a Password Manager to Store Those Passwords. Hopefully, you're using different passwords for all of your online accounts. If you're not, you're risking identity theft and having your online accounts compromised. Cybercriminals are using a method called Credential Stuffing to get access to your information. With all of the data breaches that have occurred over the years, the is a good chance your user information is sitting on the dark web. Once your information is obtained, a criminal just needs to use your credentials to log in. Making sure you have a different password for each of your online accounts is a great deterrent. Keeping track of all of those passwords is the challenge, which is why a password manager is a good tool for you to use. Not the most secure method, but storing those passwords in your favorite browser is better than using the same passwords for your accounts. Edge, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all offer an option to store your passwords. If you want a little more security, use LastPass (www.lastpass.com) or DashLane (www.dashlane) to store those passwords.
Have a Good Balance between Screen Time and Real Life. Technology has been a great tool during the pandemic allowing us to stay in contact with family and friends, but if you've seen "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix, you know technology is designed to keep you addicted and plugged. It's even worse for younger members of your family with social media creating a host of mental and physical ailments. iPhone users can take advantage of Apple's Screen Time to track and control their smartphone use. Android users can use Digital Wellbeing to set limits on the time you spend on your devices. It helps if you block or unfriend negative people on your social media accounts. Also, set certain areas in your home as 'no tech' zones to help curb the amount of time you spend staring at your devices.
Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan
Whether it’s a power outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack, numerous unexpected events can take your business offline. The most important thing in these instances is to have a plan to get back up and running as soon as possible. A good disaster recovery plan will help you feel prepared and calm when things go awry.
Add a Little 'Green' to Your Tech. One of the great things about technology is all of the environmentally friendly tech that is available. Focusing on 'green' tech can help your home and office finances. The first thing you should do is replace your standard light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED bulbs can save you up to $6 a year. A small amount when you think of one bulb, but think about how many bulbs you have in your home or office. If you haven't already, you should also invest in smart home hubs like Amazon and Google that can control items like thermostats, locks, garage doors, and other items to help monitor your home and office devices to help with your energy savings. Some utility companies will provide them to you, but once you have one in your home or office, you can program a schedule to make sure there is no waste when it comes to your utilities.
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas of how you can keep and make technology resolutions for your technology for the new year. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
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