Welcome to your digital Spring cleaning guide for your small business! It is springtime again and while the warmer weather comes making us all want to do deep cleans around the home, we also should take this opportunity to do deep cleans on your data and devices for your small businesses!

Similar to deep cleaning your home, tossing out, recycling, or donating old items you can do the same with your data and devices. When was the last time you used that folder or file? Do you need it any longer? Can you move it to a more secure location and archive it? How about that old laptop or smartphone, when was the last time you plugged that in? These are all questions you can ask yourself when performing your digital spring cleaning.

Cleaning your data

Dig into the data you use at your small business and identify if it is active data, archivable data, or deletable data.

Active data: data you still need to use to operate your small business efficiently and effectively.

Archivable data: data you may need in the future, data you are required to keep for a period of time, or data you want to keep but do not need immediate access to. This data can be kept on an encrypted hard drive or storage location with minimal access to the internet. This can also be the place you keep one of your data backup locations.

Deletable data: data you know you will not use and no longer need to run your small business efficiently and effectively.

Cleaning your devices

Cleaning your data is important, but it is also important to keep your devices cleaned up too! This could mean keeping your devices operating system fully updated and its software and apps fully updated, or its firmware.

Cleaning your devices might also mean uninstalling hardly or never used software programs and apps. If you do not use it, it does not need to be on your device. It is one less avenue for cybercriminals to gain access to your devices.

Cleaning your devices might also mean discarding old never used devices. This means wiping data so you can donate them, wiping data so you can safely recycle them, or wiping data so you can reuse them. Sometimes wiping data might not be possible, so in these cases consider shredding these kinds of devices. There are licensed and certified services who can professionally wipe, recycle, and shred your devices for you if you are unable to perform these yourself. When doing so, verify how they will perform these steps, ask if they record chain of custody, and if they provide proof of wiping or destruction. Some organizations may let you watch in person or via livestream. They typically will also provide you documentation of completion.

For a handy checklist, check out this great resource from the National Cyber Security Alliance and BBB. It offers great other digital cleaning tips not covered here!

Digital Spring cleaning is important as it can reduce your risk of data being exposed.

For more information on cybersecurity check out Small Business, Big Threat!