A 2015 international survey conducted by Accenture Consulting noted that, while consumers are finding smart devices—and the files held on them—to be increasingly relevant to their lives, they are not convinced there is a satisfactory level of security and privacy.
“Certainly (strong digital trust) requires designing and building all products and services with a security element in mind,” the survey’s analysis said. “It also involves privacy and data control—offering value in exchange for information, taking accountability for the data.”
While less paperwork to pile, file, or shred is a bonus, digital consumers still need to be alert when conducting personal business online or filing critical documents. Here are tips for staying organized and keeping digital data safe:
- Take control of your computer: Perhaps the most important step in digital organization is taking control of your computer. File important e-statements in labeled folders in your My Documents folder. It reduces desktop clutter, adds a level of security if your system crashes, and makes searching easier should you need to find a document later.
- Consider paying for safety: It is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Many free storage sites are not secure for confidential documents; while many of the pay sites are safe and secure. Research and make sure you understand the security limitations of your selected vendor.
- Set a rule for creating passwords: You don't need to remember 75 passwords if you have one rule set for generating them. For example, use your initials, a favorite number, and the first two to three letters of the service name. Using the same password repeatedly makes it easier for identity thieves to hack into your accounts. And creating multiple passwords with no rule makes it difficult to remember them all.
- Archive files: Archive what you don’t want or need. Create an “Archives” folder in your My Documents Folder. You can place items there you don’t necessarily need, but aren’t comfortable deleting right away.
- Back-up data: While Cloud-based storage is convenient, it’s still important for consumers to maintain a backup of their digital data. Depending on the size and number of files, this could be as simple as an external hard drive stored in a secure location.
- Keep a paper trail: In addition to having this information digitally, safely store paper versions of critical documents that are hard to replace, such as family health records and major home improvements; or are tax- or business-related.
For more tips on how to protect your personal information, visit Greater Nevada Credit Union's "Fraud Alerts and Identity Theft Protection