This year, I resolve to…

The holiday season is winding down, and we’re all quickly settling back in to our daily routines. While we have all considered well-intentioned resolutions for the new year, we know that our goals to get in shape, quit smoking, or fix up that project car taking up space in our driveway will soon be forgotten.

It’s no real wonder why we fail at New Years resolutions. We’re making commitments to change habits, while lacking the willpower to beat that ingrained behavior that has a hold on us. The ever-popular procrastinatory cycle of “I’ll start tomorrow” becomes yet another habit to end up on next year’s list.

Now, with all that naysaying, you might be inclined to just admit defeat early and go have a smoke while munching a Snickers and checking the cover on your project car, but before you get your coat, there are a few things you can do right now that will provide that sense of satisfaction of accomplishing something.

As most of us have probably received, or splurged on a new computer or the latest portable electronic gadget for Christmas, here is an opportunity for a resolution that’s easy to accomplish; keeping your devices in good health. Three of the simplest, yet most important things you can do right now are install updates, install malware protection, and invest in a backup strategy.

PCs, Macs, and even your Android or iOS devices are susceptible to malicious attacks by unscrupulous hackers. While OS vendors are constantly trying to stay ahead of exploits, there are those out there that are determined to find a way to infect our devices in hopes that they can capture personal information, or use our computers to attack others.

Since OS vendors try hard to patch exploits as they occur, it’s important that we keep our computers, tablets, and smartphones up to date with any security patches pushed out by their vendors. Modern operating systems come with some form of automatic update, which download security patches and alert you when they’re ready to be installed.

Anti-Virus software is another means to protect our computers from malware. Anti-Virus software does more than just alert you when you happen across a bad web site, or receive an email with an embedded exploit. It does a pretty good job of keeping exploits from erasing important files, or worse, infecting the years of photos and videos you’ve saved of your family.

Since there is no Anti-Virus program that is 100% effective, having a good backup plan can reduce your risk of loss in the event that a new virus manages to find its way through. While some have found that they can keep copies of their important files on burnable CDs, stuffed in boxes under their beds, there is still a chance that a catastrophic loss could occur. Natural disasters such as fires or floods have a way of finding the things that are most important to us.

Taking advantage of free cloud storage offerings such as Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud is a good way to have backup copies of your treasured memories stored out of harms way. However, if your files are infected by a virus on your computer, so too will be the copy in your cloud account. Consider using an online backup service that keeps multiple historical copies of your files. There are a number of services that provide unlimited personal storage accounts for a modest monthly fee.

While kicking habits may be tough to do, it’s fairly simple to resolve to keeping your computers and mobile devices healthy and your important files protected. Automatic updates, Anti-Virus, and online backups can all do their job with very little assistance, freeing you up for concentrating on your other resolutions… next year.

*For more information about Anti-Virus software, cloud storage or online backup services, visit http://tularosa.net/pc_health