Digital decluttering

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Today, I started off the day going through my emails and checking Twitter and various accounts and also going through the very important business of site maintenance. I had to contact my hosting site to get a few things taken care of and also make sure that all dues were paid. It’s not easy running a business and also taking care of personal life and also other things. I spent the last two days with tech support just trying to make sure of terms and conditions for my site and also have been working with a programmer to make sure certain features get added to the site. Busy! If you run a site it’s important to get going and think of the costs and plan, but you can’t account for everything all the time and have to really hit the ground running and also have plenty of capital. I recommend at least a year and a half amount planned or more to make sure you can keep up your site. To be sure you have a moat for your business it might be good to have 5 to 6 years of savings saved up for important things.

Next it’s important to start saving and writing or recording in a log somewhere all your accounts and settings you have set up. It is super, super, super, super, super duper important… did I say super important enough times to get my point through that you need to have a way to recover your accounts if need be? It is very important.

When you start a site you need to write down possible names for a site. You need to write down user names or passwords or save them in some way, pictures from a camera or digitally and keep it in a way you can easily find it later. You wouldn’t believe the amount of data you can store over 20 or 30 years. Over the weekend I realized that I’ve started not just this site but a site many years ago when the Internet was still in its infancy. That site now has a few dead links and some old nostalgia to it. But it is still a very workable site and has very good information and items. It just needs a domain and a few tweaks and it could be as popular today as it ever was. Make sure that no matter what happens you keep a log of every thing you ever sign up for somewhere you can get back to it. I am amazed that many old sites are gone but many are still preserved and you can look up on Wikipedia or Wayback Machine in the Internet Archives to see many still functional great sites and nostalgia from the 90’s.

After that, make sure you back up all your apps, your phone settings, your user accounts and contacts at least once a year or so. We go through so many phones in our lifetimes and accounts and often lose access to accounts but they are preserved forever digitally somewhere even if we lose access to them unless the site goes down or is defunct, or they inactivate you after you haven’t been in the account for a while. This is one of the most important things you can do for your digital health.

Some people like to weed through emails and clear them out as soon as they see email. Others are packrats and save everything or are archivers making digital time capsules on the internet.

It was amazing this weekend what a person could scour in a few hours, old addresses, emails, penpal accounts, high school links and websites and interests and social media accounts. If you are no longer using them you may want to deactivate or limit access to them, or delete the accounts and content or change passwords to something stronger.

It’s also recommended to back up your information offsite. Consider a CD, USB, separate external drive, SD or microSD cards, physical pictures or paper and post cards, etching things into metal, putting things on a digital catalogue, or writing them down or making Xerox copies. Maybe you may want to snapshot, do screen captures or digital videos to show how to reproduce your settings. Nowadays having duplicates and extra storage or “cold storage” offsite is so cheap that there is absolutely no reason not to.

Make it automated and have your software back it up once a week or month per needed schedule. And also run a manual backup yourself. If you’re not planning ahead for failure of access or digital components, then you’re planning to fail and have catastrophic loss. So make sure you have a contingency plan. If a hard drive fails, at least you have a CD or a paper copy or picture of your contents. And if your storage fails maybe have a fire proof or water proof container in case of natural disaster.

With today’s society we do more and more of our work on computers and cellphones and tablets and we store money, accounts, sensitive files like tax and financial spreadsheets and link several accounts across sensitive platforms so it even even more mission critical to have a safe duplicate. Our world is accelerating into an even more networked and social and digitally liked economy. Digital currencies and online brokerages, peer to peer lending, and forex, Paypal, digital shopping, and linked credit cards for Amazon, eBay and clothing merchandise stores make it so that you can’t avoid putting information online for long unless you refuse to participate completely online. And it’s true some people don’t shop online or use old call in methods to check things online. But I bet you that a good amount of people use some digital platform to check and do some kind of business even if it is simply checking stocks.

You can’t be too careful these days so write it down, keep it under lock and key, and commit what you need to memory. And when your memory fails over the years as it inevitably will because you’re going to have more and more digital accounts online, then you need to have a way to retrieve your accounts again. So write it down somewhere or get a Keypass or some other device to give you access to your accounts. In the future they may solve this password problem but for now it’s the best thing we have.

  • Make long passwords that are meaningful to you.
  • Don’t share passwords.
  • Don’t wait till you’re locked out to think about worst case scenarios.
  • Limit access to information. Security by scarcity is a good thing. The fewer people that have access to the information the better. The fewer people that have access to the code or the knowledge of its existence, the better.
  • Automate backups
  • Penetration testing is what some sites use to ensure their site security works, but you can test and audit your passwords and storage mediums to see that it’s working and still accessible from time to time. That is, make sure that some of your passwords or special phrases or fingerprint access works over time. Ink may bleed or fade over time. Fingers change shape as you age some. And CD’s and electromagnetic interference or exposure to sun or heat or dampness may affect your storage mediums so make sure you double check periodically and make sure things don’t rust or get lost and you lose access to your stored files. For example, if you lose a key to a vault with all your files that’s just as bad.
  • Online storage is nice in some cases where the security need is low, but in some cases they can be useful if you are on a closed circuit network. Never forget that through simple malware or trojans and viruses or targeted phishing your data could be super easily compromised.
  • Separate and isolate mission critical accounts from other accounts. For example if you have sensitive data. You might want to keep those off a USB drive or off your spam email account. You may one day accidentally download an image or click on a link that opens up the floodgate doors to that critical account so basically airgap or isolate that account from everything and don’t touch it again just work with a copy.

More information to come maybe later. I spent a lot of time wondering about people from the past, people from high school reunions, and dating partners and such and all that is stored somewhere in a digital medium that someone could probably recover forensically if they truly wanted. It’s amazing how much the world is stored on a simple laptop or cellphone device nowadays. The world is literally in my pocket.

Author: savvywealthmedia

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