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Published on January 8th, 2018 | by gareth

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3 Storage Strategies to Keep Your Digital Media Organized and Secure

Digital media can easily become digital clutter without a suitable filing and storage system. Case in point: Over the years, the average consumer may accumulate thousands of photos on their PC, laptop or smartphone, along with a plethora of DVDs, CDs and video games.

This method of storage not only takes up virtual and physical storage space, but it can also present security risks, particularly if you have outdated apps with unpatched vulnerabilities or unsecure files with sensitive information, according to security provider Kaspersky.

To avoid these problems, Kaspersky recommends consumers perform periodic digital “house cleanings,” much like spring cleaning inside your home. Here are some tips for keeping your digital media organized, backed up and protected from security threats.

1. Digital Files

The first key in better organizing your digital files is not to let clutter accumulate in the first place. Don’t save every file version, and make sure to regularly delete files and apps you’re no longer using. For files you do save, use a consistent file and folder naming structure to make it easy to retrieve data.

For example, if you’re building a resume, it’s best to include the current date of each file into the naming structure (i.e., “resume01032018”) instead of using generic names such as “resume1″ or “resume2.” Keep your folder system simple and not overly complicated, and put new files in the correct folder immediately after creating them.

When it comes to storing your digital files, there are several major options. Today’s best external hard drives offer as much as 16 terabytes of storage space, while another less expensive option is using a cloud-based storage backup service.

Backing up your files to a hard drive or cloud service can also help keep your files secure in the event your device is compromised during a ransomware attack. In addition to keeping your files backed up, you should also keep your operating system, apps and anti-virus software updated to protect yourself against ransomware attacks and other cybersecurity threats.

2. File Away DVDs, Blu-Rays and CDs

To keep DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs organized, use a consistent filing system, such as storing by genre, artist, title, date or a combination of these categories. Experts say discs should be labeled with a non-solvent based felt-tip permanent marker.

For optimal storage, discs should be stored upright, the same way you would store books, which will keep them from getting warped by gravity. The best way to store discs upright is by using cases designed for DVDs, Blu-rays or CDs. To minimize risks of environmental damage, store discs in a cool, dry or dark area, with a temperature of 40 to 70 degrees and relative humidity of 20 percent to 50 percent.

For additional protection, discs should be left in their original cases. When taking discs in and out of cases, grabbing them by their surfaces can leave smudges. Instead, discs should be handled by their outer edges or center holes. Meantime, discs left out of their cases can get dirty and create clutter. To avoid this, discs should be returned to their cases immediately after use.

As far as routine maintenance goes, you can clean your discs with a lint-free cloth by wiping from the center toward the outer edge in a straight line. For cleaning requiring liquid, using deionized water is preferable, and deionized or soft tap water is also acceptable. Tougher problems can be cleaned with diluted dish detergent or rubbing alcohol. After applying the liquid, rinse and dry with a lint-free cloth.

3. Store Video Games

The principles for storing and cleaning video games are similar for DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs. You can file games by categories such as genre, publisher, title, and date. But the top option for storing video games is to place them on a DVD shelf or bookshelf. This will allow you to keep your games in their original boxes, which will make it easier for you to keep your games and instructions together.

Alternatively, if you need to save space or if you don’t have the original cases for some of your games, you can put discs in a CD storage case and store these boxes separately. If you go with this option, it’s advisable to avoid throwing out game instructions, especially if you plan to resell your games later. Some game cases, especially ones for used games, have excessive glue from stickers, but you can remove this by using Goo Gone.

Game discs can be cleaned the same way you would clean DVDs. Using a lint-free cloth, deionized water, diluted detergent or rubbing alcohol is better than using home resurfacing devices such as Home DR or Skip DR, which can leave scratches.

Conclusion

Digital media storage can be challenging, but by following these guidelines, you’ll be able to keep the clutter from getting out of control. Using consistent filing systems, the right storage methods and proper security and cleaning procedures will keep your digital media well-organized, efficiently stored and safe from hackers and environmental damage.


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