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Spring into Action: A Corporate Digital Spring Cleaning Plan

James Keiser, Director of Secured Managed Services (SMS) at CISO Global 

Spring into Action: A Corporate Digital Spring Cleaning Plan blog graphic with image of author, James Keiser

Spring cleaning is no longer just about spotless windows and gleaming floors. In the digital age, businesses need to consider the clutter accumulating in their virtual filing cabinets too. A corporate digital spring cleaning can breathe new life into your organization’s online presence and data management practices. 

Digital Spring Cleaning is Crucial for Organizations 

There are many benefits to be had when conducting a thorough digital sweep. By decluttering data and streamlining access, you enhance security by minimizing the attack surface for potential security breaches. Organizing digital resources leads to faster information retrieval, boosting employee productivity. Removing unused software licenses and optimizing storage frees up resources and saves money. Proper data organization simplifies compliance with data privacy regulations. This plan provides a roadmap to a successful corporate digital spring cleaning, covering key areas. 

Declutter Your Digital Shelves 

A great place to start is to audit your backups before making any changes to the environment. It is ideal to understand how your backups are working and verify that the data, and the systems, are protected, in case any accidents happen. This is a great time to define RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) as well.  

Next, audit user accounts. Review all active user accounts across various platforms (Active Directory, email, CRM [Customer Relationship Management], project management tools, etc.). Identify and deactivate dormant or unnecessary accounts to minimize access points. 

Establish clear filing structures for shared drives. Remove irrelevant files and folders and set user permissions to ensure only authorized personnel can access sensitive data. By organizing your shared drives, not only will your data be more secure, but your workforce will also be more efficient.  

Consider what data could be archived from the file shares. Perhaps you have older data you suspect will not be needed, but you want to keep it for reference. Work with your IT team to create a plan on what to do with this data and how to handle it. Depending on your situation, it may save you money immediately. It can also potentially extend the life of your business investment by saving system resources such as disk space.  

Review your software. Inventory all software licenses used across the organization. By identifying unused or redundant licenses that can be terminated, you can optimize or reduce software spending. 

Sanitize Your Email 

Email inboxes tend to grow exponentially more cluttered due to poor housekeeping habits. Emphasize the importance of deleting old emails, unsubscribing from unwanted newsletters, and using folders for better organization. Many people hold onto their email long after it loses relevance. Implement email retention policies by establishing clear guidelines for how long emails need to be retained based on legal and operational requirements. Delete emails exceeding the retention period or consider archiving older emails for compliance or historical purposes while freeing up space in employee inboxes. Also remember that the deleted items bin in your Outlook is not a filing cabinet! Be sure to empty it from time to time.  

Another item to consider is how and what data is backed up. Retention policies are excellent, but they may not fully protect your business. Be sure to consult with your IT team and ensure that your emails are appropriately protected and backed up. 

Clean Up Your Social Media Presence 

Social media is a powerful tool for organizations, but often, as businesses evolve, they create new accounts, change platforms, rebrand, or merge. An audit of all active social media accounts associated with the company is the best place to start when cleaning up your social media mess. Delete inactive accounts and consolidate platforms if necessary. Ensure all social media profiles are current with accurate branding and company information. Evaluate any third-party tools or apps connected to your social media accounts. Remove unused integrations and update permissions for those still relevant. 

Secure Your Digital Assets 

When it comes to protecting your organization’s information, passwords are the first line of defense. Implement a company-wide password policy that mandates strong, unique passwords for all user accounts. Consider multi-factor authentication (MFA) for added security. Train employees in best practices for data security, including recognizing phishing attempts and avoiding unsafe browsing habits. And evaluate whether sensitive data is being encrypted at rest and in transit. Implement encryption solutions where necessary to protect confidential information. 

Optimize Device Management 

Consider standardizing company-issued devices with pre-installed software and security settings to simplify management. Implement remote device management tools to ensure all devices are running the latest updates, security patches, and company-approved software. If employees use personal devices for work purposes, implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) policies to ensure device security and data protection. 

Embrace a Backup Culture 

A comprehensive backup plan is key to ensuring your data security. Designate a secure location for vital company data backups, such as a cloud storage service or an offsite physical storage facility. Establish a consistent backup schedule to ensure all critical data is backed up regularly based on its importance and frequency of change. Regularly test your backups to ensure they are functioning correctly, and data can be restored successfully in case of an incident. 

Dispose of Electronics Responsibly 

Don’t just take out the trash! Before discarding outdated or broken electronic devices, ensure all data is securely wiped using industry-approved methods. For sensitive electronics, consider partnering with certified e-waste disposal services that ensure environmentally responsible and secure data destruction. 

Foster a Culture of Digital Hygiene 

Want next year’s spring cleaning to be a breeze? Develop internal resources and training programs to educate employees about good digital hygiene practices. Encourage management to exemplify good practices by organizing their own digital spaces and demonstrating responsible data management. In addition to these things, acknowledge and reward employees who actively participate in digital decluttering and security awareness initiatives. They are making your organization more secure and efficient every day. 

A corporate digital spring cleaning is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. By embedding these practices into your company culture, you can cultivate a more secure, streamlined, and efficient digital environment for your organization. This not only protects your valuable data and intellectual property, but also fosters a culture of digital responsibility within your workforce. As technology continues to evolve, so should your approach to digital hygiene. By embracing a proactive approach to your digital spring cleaning, you can ensure your business remains agile, secure, and ready to thrive in our ever-changing digital landscape. 

Download Your Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist Here

James Keiser, image for author of blog

About the Author 

James Keiser is the Director of Secured Managed Services (SMS), the MSP portion of CISO Global. James has been in the MSP/MSSP arena for most of his professional career (15 Years). If you’re familiar with MSP/MSSP firms they require the ability to adapt, overcome, learn quickly, and build partnerships with clients of all types, challenges and skills.