Reduce Security Risks with Digital Spring Cleaning

Spring is here! This means it’s time for some cleaning – and not your usual household cleaning. Keep in mind your computer and other electronic devices collect clutter overtime.

Digital clutter can sometimes lead to a decrease in productivity, slow down the device, take up storage space and is a security liability. Storage capacity is constantly increasing and cloud storage is inexpensive making it easy to accumulate data. Old information and devices, in addition to long forgotten accounts, may expose you to security risks and result in a windfall for hackers.

Be proactive and take steps to clean out digital clutter – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with small steps that will lead to greater cyber security.

Digital Files:

  • Delete documents that are no longer needed.
  • Back up critical files and store them securely; create a process that safely keeps sensitive documents that need to be retained by storing them in the cloud or on a password-protected external hard drive.
  • Inventory passwords/passphrases; choose something complex and unique, while changing them regularly.
  • Delete old emails; unsubscribe from email lists/newsletters or update preferences to receive them less frequently.
    • Tip: Create a separate email account exclusively for online shopping to keep you organized and set up rules or automated inbox sorting to organize emails.
  • Organize and delete photos.
  • Update web browser settings including favorites; ensure your browser is set to not store passwords.
  • Delete or cancel unused accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication when possible.


  • Ensure all devices are protected with complex and unique passwords.
  • Clean up your desktop to free up operating memory and improve computer response.
  • Clear out your “downloads” folder; if it’s never been cleaned out, it could be taking up a significant amount of storage on your machine.
  • Delete unused apps and ensure relevant apps are current.

Make Good Cyber Hygiene a Habit:

  • Minimize what you keep – if you don’t need it, get rid of it.
  • Set a recurring task to organize or delete unnecessary information and change passwords.

Author Meredith Paton

More posts by Meredith Paton

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