marius-masalar-CyFBmFEsytU-unsplash-featuredI’ve pretty much always been an early adopter of all things technology — hardware, software, etc. But with that comes the possibility of setting yourself up for an immense set of distractions, tinkering, and possible security risks across all your digital life items. Securing, maintaining, and organizing all that should be a combo of digital and physical organizational pieces.

Please note, I recommend several specific products and services throughout this article. There’s no implied endorsement, nor payment for linking or dropping their names. They’re just products we’ve utilized for quite a while that do what they say, and in my opinion, worth supporting with your money and disk space.

Lifehacker’s Take on Tech and Your Digital Life

Lifehacker recently posted an article titled, 7 Tech Habits You Should Build (and the Best Apps to Get You Going). All of them are great suggestions. I’m happy to say, I’m already a big believer and implementor of all but the habit tracker and whole natural language calendar. For me, the habits come from other apps that serve the habits you want to do — RunKeeper, Apple Fitness+, waking up at the same time daily, etc.

The natural language one, I just don’t get or need. Our family definitely lives and dies by a combination of a shared family calendar on our Apple devices and a big old blackboard-based calendar at the base of our stairs. We’ve got to juggle all the normal things — work, doctors/vet appointments, soccer and baseball nearly year-round, plus Carolina Hurricanes season tickets and NC Courage matches (along with a related side-hustle).

3-2-1 Backup Strategy

Photo by Patrick Lindenberg on UnsplashBackup is key. Ever since we got married and then subsequently had kids, we’ve been super aware of how a lot of digital things are precious. Not only precious, but often fragile and irreplaceable if they were to be lost to a hard drive failure, or something more catastrophic like fire or flood.

For nearly two decades, we’ve employed the 3-2-1 Backup method. The 3-2-1 signifies 3 copies of any given backed up file, two local, but separate copies (i.e. two hard drives), and one off site.

The two local cover hardware failure. The one off-site means you’re covered in the tragic loss of a home to something like a flood or fire.

For the offsite, I recommend CrashPlan’s small business backup service.

I’d add too you want whatever you utilize to be automated. Anything you have to do on a regular basis, like a copy to a thumb drive or to another machine by hand is asking to get overlooked, leaving gaps in your backups.

For our computer backups, I use Apple hardware, and initially used Mac OS’s built-in Time Machine for incremental backups, but have had issues across multiple computers having it work consistently. A couple of years back, we switched to utilizing Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the irreplaceable data from my machines. It’s a little overkill, but I use a four-disk hardware/software RAID 5 to add redundancy.

Non-Digital Backups

As non-techie as it is, our biggest non-digital backup is the chalkboard-based calendar referenced above. Not only is it an obvious low-tech way to at a glance see activities for the week, it’s placed at the bottom of the stairs on the main level of the house. Everyone can see it, coming and going in and out of the house, and coming up and down the stairs. It’s also immune to any cloud outages or power interruptions.

Password Manager

1PasswordIf there’s nothing else from this whole article (or Lifehacker’s) that you adopt for the new year, stop reusing passwords. Remember one unique long and secure password (include lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and special characters) and get yourself a password manager. Our family uses 1Password, and I highly recommend it and love supporting them with our annual subscription. Sadly, Lifehacker didn’t have this in their article proper, but it was in the comments of the article.

Also, an added benefit of most password managers are their auditing features — recognizing duplicate passwords, passwords that might be a breach, etc. Pay attention to those, and make it a point to regularly check in on these. I’ve got a monthly reminder to check them out. 1Password calls this application and website feature, “Watchtower,” but most password managers have this now, as does Google Chrome’s password feature.

Your Strategies For Improving and Securing Your Digital Life

What are your strategies for improving and securing your digital life? The examples above are obviously only a few examples. Comment below with your strategies, tools, etc. you utilize. My biggest place to improve is organization and limiting distractions. Comment with your strategies and tools for those too.

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