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Tuesday, July 23 News

Living With Technology / Tech resolutions for the new year

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Most involve us having us try to do something active week after week or month after month.

The problem with these resolutions is that they require us to do something we’ve not done regularly before.

I like the “set and forget” resolutions where you simply have to set them up and not worry about them.

Here are a few resolutions you can use for your technology.

First, backup your computer. I prefer the “cloud” based services where your data is stored somewhere outside your home or office. By having the information stored where your computer is not, in case your computer is stolen, destroyed or otherwise made unavailable, odds are you’ll be able to get your data back.

Beyond having your data lost or stolen, some people have been affected with people who infect their computers with “ransomware” malware and can hold your computer “hostage” unless you pay them to unlock your computer. A good backup lets you “wipe” your computer and restore your data from a good backup — without paying the scammers money.

Services such as iDrive, BackBlaze, Mozy and Carbonite all provide comparable services. Here’s a list of some major offerings: www.pcmag.com/article2/

0,2817,2288745,00.asp.

The biggest difference is the price which depends upon how much data you want to backup. Photos and videos can take up a lot of backup space, so plan what you backup carefully and see how much the recurring costs will be over many years.

Second, use a password manager. Almost every website and application you use nowadays requires you to log in to it. This requires credentials that consist of a UserID and password. Using the same login credentials across many sites allows someone with your UserID and password to log in to your Amazon, Netflix and bank accounts. Not good.

With a password manager, you can create a unique set of credentials for virtually every account you have. Additionally, the password manager keeps in sync your computer, tablet and phone. I held off for years, but finally moved to a password manager and would not want to stop.

The one I chose (LastPass) received my business because it allows me to share an account with all of my family members so I can help my wife, daughter and son. Here is a list of good password manager products: www.pcmag.com/article2/

0,2817,2407168,00.asp.

Pricing for password managers is neither expensive nor very different regardless of the product you choose.

Both of these resolutions will give you peace of mind and help you be a little more comfortable and secure with your computing in the new year.

Mark Mathias is a 35+ year information technology executive and a resident of Westport, Connecticut. He can be contacted at livingwithtechnology@mathias.org.

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