Start Summer with a Digital Cleanse


It's time to get rid of the digital build up.

The apps and data on your devices build up faster than you think, slowing down performance and building a valuable trove of personal information for hackers.

Keeping your devices clutter-free not only frees up storage space and helps them to run smoothly. It can also keep users more secure online.

To start, identity the devices you no longer use. Everything from an unused gaming console to that iPhone 3GS you excitedly bought in 2009 and old thumb drives gathering dust in a drawer. This is both physical and digital clutter could prove a security risk, as users might not remember what data is still lurking on them.

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Before you sell or recycle anything, make sure to wipe it using the system's factory reset, or remove the hard drive and wipe that. 

To tidy the devices that are still in use, users should clear out any extraneous files and back up them up to cloud services or to an external hard drive. On your smartphone, cancel and delete the apps you don't use anymore. The ones that are in use should stay updated to patch any recently discovered vulnerabilities.

Keep in mind, the more unnecessary data you have on a device, the more is at risk if that device is hacked.

Even if you've pared down physical devices and the data on them, you should still clean up email accounts and social media accounts.

First, track down and delete old email accounts you no longer use. Then keep the accounts you do use, like Gmail and Outlook, in tip-top shape. Unsubscribe from newsletters and services you don't want to hear from and cut down on unread emails. Getting to the infamous "Inbox Zero" may seem impossible, but there are some resources to help get you there.

Cleaning up your social media presence may also seem strange, but services like Tweet Deleter can clean up old posts you don't want floating around the internet.

And while you're decluttering and organizing these accounts, update everything with a nice, fresh password.