It’s a new year, so it’s time for new behaviors to keep your data safe and your life simple. We’ve prepared our list of Tech Resolutions for 2018 that should help you stay on track for the year ahead. As always, if you need help with anything, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re always here to assist.

1 – Backup Religiously
This is the cornerstone of good behavior for 2018, and your single best defense against whatever unfortunate experiences may arise. As always, the importance of backing up regularly cannot be stressed enough. It’s super simple to implement a rudimentary backup strategy to an external hard drive using TimeMachine, to cloud backup using Backblaze or iCloud for iPhone/iPad. If you’re already backing up your data effectively (bravo!!), take a look and confirm that everything is still working as originally configured.

2 – Securely Erase & Recycle Your Retired Hardware
Perhaps you’ve got a stack of old iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and an old iMac or two taking up valuable space in your home or office. The time has come to securely erase your hardware and either donate it or drop it off at an e-waste recycling center. Do the planet a favor and don’t simply toss this stuff in the trash. We do monthly e-waste drop-offs and work with area schools who welcome donations, so feel free to call and schedule a pickup.

3 – Use Unique Passwords Online
Every important site you visit, or service you use, should have a unique password. Repeating login data across sites is a critical weakness in your personal security, because if one site gets hacked, your same login can be used to access other sites – this is what hackers do. The best way to achieve password nirvana is by using a password manager like 1Password to securely create, enter and store your passwords.

4 – Update Apps & Operating Systems
Updates add useful new features and provide vital security updates. People who fear change may tend to avoid running updates, but more often than not, updating is a vital part of keeping your devices functioning well, and your data safe. Make it easy on yourself and enable Automatic Updates on your iPhone and Mac, and whatever applications allow it (Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader, etc.) Take the plunge, be ready for some minor learning curves if you’re running a major update (iOS 10 to iOS 11 for example), but for the most part this process should be low impact, yet well worth it.

5 – Refresh Your Languishing Blog or Website
If you have a website that you created a few years back, it will likely benefit from a refresh to bring it in line with 2018 web design standards. If you haven’t written on your blog in ages, write a post. Added bonus: fresh content will improve your Google search rankings. Also, much like your computers and mobile devices, you need to make sure your site is backed up correctly and all the latest patches and updates are installed. Failure to update your web software is one of the primary ways hackers get into your site, so be smart and update regularly.

6 – Play Cancellation Chicken
Rates and service packages change all the time, and if you haven’t checked your cable, mobile or SiriusXM account in a while, it’s worth making sure you’re getting the best deals available. With a quick call you can end up with faster internet connectivity or a higher data allotment each month for the same price? Alternately, you can keep your existing service levels and simply pay less money? It’s a win either way – a total no-brainer and worth a few minutes of your time to see what kind of deals the retention department is willing to offer you.

7 – Set up ApplePay Cash
Kiss the Cash app, Venmo and all those similar apps goodbye – with the latest update to iOS 11 Apple introduced Apple Pay Cash, their peer-to-peer payment system. Now it’s a breeze to use to send money to friends & family with a simple text message or Siri command. Never send a check again, never have to run to the ATM to pay back a friend for lunch. You’ll wonder how you lived without it. Here’s how to set it up…

8 – Cancel Unnecessary Cloud Services
In 2017 our credit card and bank statements were full of recurring $4.99, $9.99 and $12.99 monthly charges – it’s worth taking a look to make sure you actually use all those services you’re paying for. Paying for Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music every month? Perhaps you don’t need each one. Have Dropbox, Box and iDrive accounts? Which services do you really use? Paying for 1TB of iCloud storage each month, but only using less than 200GB? Drop down to the lower tier of service. Lots of ways to save money here.

9 – Apple AirPods
Treat yourself to a pair of Apple AirPods. They’re awesome.

10 – Slim Down Your Inbox
Take ten minutes and click on the unsubscribe link in every newsletter and marketing email you never bother to read. If you’re not going to read it, why have it clutter up your inbox?

Reach Out For Guidance & Support
Most of this list is self-explanatory and simple, and a great way to start 2018 on the right path. As with all things tech, if these goals (or anything else) are too complex or time consuming, we’re here at Tech Haven to help you keep you Tech Resolutions or address any other issues that arise.

Best wishes for 2018!