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How to cleanup your digital organization system

Hoi is a mobilist who blogs about technology trends and productivity. Read full profile

How to cleanup your digital organization system

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Your computer is full of junk, and it’s not just your computer, it’s all the parts of your digital life. Your web browser will have bookmarks that you no longer use; maybe even bookmarked websites that no longer exist. You’ve probably got a computer desktop full of files that you no longer need and probably can’t even remember what some of those files were for. This doesn’t even include all the accounts that you may have created online for all those services that you no longer use, but still get email for.

This Lifehack Lesson will help you get your digital organization system in shape and cleanup all the mess that you’ve accumulated on your PC and online. It’s a Spring cleaning lesson for your computer. This lesson is free for the first 7 days, after which; to subscribe to the lesson will cost only $1.99. All other lessons will cost $1.99 too.

Here’s an excerpt from this lesson

When it comes to being organized in the modern world there is a lot more to it them just carrying a stylish day planner and making sure that you have all of your appointments in line for the week. There is a lot more information being thrown at all of us. Some of it is relevant and a lot of it is not. Does that mean that you are destined to either succumb to the digital overload or live your life in seclusion from technology? Of course not! Today, you are going to learn how to organize your digital life, and make your way from virtual clutter to a realistic and organized system that will help you for years to come.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

With January being National Clean Up Your Computer Month, it’s the perfect time to get organized for the new year!

By implementing an organization system for your digital files, you can find important files much quicker and easier. Overall, this will help your funeral home’s staff be more productive and better serve your families.

Below are some organization strategies that your funeral home can adapt for National Clean Up Your Computer Month and beyond!

Organize Your Digital Files

If your desktop is littered with icons, a folder has more than 300 files, or you rely on the search function, it’s time to clean up your files! To start, you should create a single “root” folder such as your “My Documents” or “Shared Documents” folder, but you can rename it to whatever you’d like.

Then, create subfolders for different categories of your funeral home, such as “MyFuneralHomeDocuments/finances” and “MyFuneralHomeDocuments/marketing.” You can even create more subfolders within these folders depending on how detailed you want to get.

Once you make these changes, you’ll notice how much easier it is to find your files. It will make training new staff easier, as well as finding the information you need for your client families. Everything will have a place and reduce the chance of losing a document.

To keep your files organized, you should make sure files are in the appropriate folders and delete any unnecessary files every few months.

For more tips and an example file organization diagram, check out this file organization article!

Clear Your Browser Cache

Cleaning up your computer and its storage space doesn’t just include your digital files. You also should clean up your computer by clearing your browser cache.

To put it simply, your browser cache is the temporary storage on your computer or mobile device from the websites you’ve visited. When you visit websites, the information is stored so they load quickly the next time you visit them. However, over time, it fills up and may cause issues with websites not displaying properly.

You should clear your browser cache every few months. The specific steps for clearing your cache may vary depending on what browser you’re using. But, for most browsers, you can clear cache by holding down the control, shift, and delete keys at the same time. You also should restart your browser to make sure the cache cleared.

To find the specific steps for clearing cache in your browser, check out this browser cache article!

Clear Your Cookies

Another important thing to clear is your cookies. And no, we’re not talking about that delicious plate of chocolate chip cookies you made for your client families. Your cookies store information to track website activity that’s related to the user.

For example, when you log into a website or enter personal information to make a purchase, that site remembers that information for your next visit. But, while cookies help provide a good user experience, they also can clog up your computer’s disk space.

Like with clearing cache, most browsers let you clear cookies by holding down the control, shift, and delete keys simultaneously, and you should restart your browser afterward.

What other tips do you have for keeping your computer organized this National Clean Up Your Computer Month? Share them with us in the comments!

@chrisbhoffman
May 1, 2018, 4:04 am EST | 2 min read

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Windows 10 has a new, easy-to-use tool for freeing up disk space on your computer. It removes temporary files, system logs, previous Windows installations, and other files you probably don’t need.

This tool is new in the April 2018 Update. It works similarly to the old Disk Cleanup utility, but it’s part of the modern Settings app and is a bit faster to use.

To find this new tool, head to Settings > System > Storage. Click the “Free Up Space Now” link under Storage Sense. If you don’t see that option here, the April 2018 Update hasn’t been installed on your PC yet.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Windows automatically scans your PC for unnecessary data that it can removed to free up space. Unlike the old Disk Cleanup tool, this screen only shows data you can actually remove, and it scans both user files like your Recycle Bin and system data like old Windows installations at the same time.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Scroll through the list and check the different types of data you want to remove. Windows shows exactly how much space you’ll free up by removing each type of data. You can delete everything here as long as your computer is functioning properly. For example, “Windows upgrade log files” and “System created Windows Error Reporting Files” are both only helpful if your PC is experiencing problems. If everything is working fine, feel free to delete them.

Be careful when checking the “Recycle Bin” option here. This will erase any deleted files in your Recycle Bin. Be sure you don’t want to recover any files from the Recycle Bin before checking this option.

After a big update like the April 2018 Update itself, you’ll also see a “Previous Windows installation(s)” entry here. Feel free to remove these files if your computer is working properly. You won’t be able to downgrade to the previous Windows 10 update after removing these files, but Windows automatically removes these files after 10 days anyway. If your computer isn’t working properly, you’ll need these files to roll back to your previous build of Windows.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Windows shows how much total space will be freed up at the top of the screen. Click “Remove Files” to remove the data you’ve selected.

Depending on how much data there is to remove, Windows may take a few minutes to finish the process.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

While you can enable the “Storage Sense” option at Settings > System > Storage to automatically remove some types of data, including old temporary files and files that have been in your Recycle Bin for a while, it won’t remove as many types of data as the “Free Up Space Now” tool. These are two different tools.

Click the “Change how we free up space automatically” option under Settings > System > Storage to configure how the Storage Sense feature automatically frees up space.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

В наши дни люди хранят на разных устройствах миллионы файлов. Это огромный объем самых разнообразных материалов: от любимой музыки до документов, которые нужны для работы или учебы. Чтобы найти в этом море информации нужный файл, можно воспользоваться функцией поиска на ПК или планшете. Однако иногда система выдает столь огромный список результатов, что ее использование теряет всякий смысл. Обычно поиск выполняется по ключевым словам в файле и его описательному имени. Если вы будете создавать и сохранять файлы, придерживаясь определенных правил, то потом сможете найти их значительно быстрее.

Как лучше организовать цифровой контент на личном ПК, каждый решает сам, но есть несколько простых способов быстро навести порядок в файлах.

  • Главное правило звучит так: меньше файлов — меньше беспорядка. Сохраняйте на ПК только действительно важные файлы и регулярно избавляйтесь от ненужных материалов. Удаляйте дубликаты и старые документы, которыми никогда не пользовались. Не загружайте каждое вложение, которое вам присылают в сообщениях электронной почты. Например, прежде чем импортировать на ПК фотографии, удалите все нечеткие, смазанные, неудачные снимки.
  • Имена файлов должны быть подробными и однотипными. Представим ситуацию: вы ищете работу и должны срочно отправить резюме по указанному адресу. Быстро открываете нужную папку и… обнаруживаете файлы resume.doc, resume1.docx и resume2.docx. Ну вот, теперь придется просматривать каждый документ и «вычислять», который из них является последней версией. Используйте в именах ключевые слова, например resume-2014-01-05.docx или resume-2014-programmer.doc, тогда нужные файлы будут видны сразу. Да и найти их будет гораздо проще.
  • Не создавайте разветвленную систему каталогов с миллионом подпапок, мы ведь хотим упростить доступ к файлам, а не усложнить его. Главное — не сбрасывать все файлы в одну папку «Документы», раздувая ее до невообразимых размеров. Создавайте отдельные папки только для основных типов файлов или, например, для документов, которые нужны чаще всего.
  • Новые файлы сразу же помещайте в правильную папку — всегда следуйте этому правилу! Нажав кнопку «Сохранить» или «Скачать», указывайте правильный путь для файлов данного типа, отдельно сохраняя музыку, фотографии, документы и т. д. Это должно войти в привычку, тогда на вашем ПК всегда будет порядок.
  • Используйте ярлыки. Например, вы часто открываете таблицу планирования бюджета, загружаете музыку в один и тот же каталог на накопителе для резервного копирования. Создайте для этого файла или папки отдельный ярлык на рабочем столе. Так вы сможете хранить объект в выбранном расположении, упростив его поиск по дате или ключевому слову, и при этом получать к нему доступ одним щелчком.

Когда контент упорядочен, намного легче находить нужные файлы и просматривать их на любом устройстве с помощью таких приложений, как Seagate Media App. Эта программа автоматически сортирует файлы по типу, позволяя запускать фильмы, просматривать фотографии, слушать музыку и работать с документами.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Before we start

Having spent some years coding applications for macOS we’ve created a tool that everybody can use. The all-round problem fixer for Mac.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

So here’s a tip for you: Download CleanMyMac to quickly solve some of the issues mentioned in this article. But to help you do it all by yourself, we’ve gathered our best ideas and solutions below.

Features described in this article refer to the MacPaw site version of CleanMyMac X.

Before the days whenever a computer on the planet was connected to the internet, the most common way to spread a virus was to infect removable storage media like a floppy disk. Those disks may have long since gone, but there’s one type of removable storage that is still prone to malware — flash storage, most commonly the SD card. Mostly used in digital cameras and for additional storage on smartphones, SD cards are also connected to Mac and PCs to download photos or share other types of files. Sadly, it’s possible to share viruses this way too. And if you find a virus on an SD card that has precious photos on it, the last thing you want to have to do is reformat it and lose your photos. So, here’s how to remove a virus from an SD card without formatting it.

Symptoms of a virus on an SD card

There are several ways to tell whether your SD card is infected with a virus. Some of the most common are:

• Files may turn into Windows shortcut links

• Files may become hidden

• Files may be corrupted or have been erased

• The SD card may start to become slow, and it will take longer to copy files to and from the card, or your camera or phone may seem to slow down

• Files are missing

• You get an error message when you try to use the card

• You can’t access the card at all

• You see a pop-up prompt asking you to reformat the card when you plug it into your computer

All of the above are signs that your card may have a virus. So, before you use it again, you should remove it.

How to manually remove virus from an SD card

If you’re a Mac user, you’ll need to persuade someone who has access to a Windows PC to help you or let you use their computer since this method relies on using the Windows “cmd” command to launch the command-line interface.

1. Put the SD card in the SD slot on the PC or, if it doesn’t have one, use a USB card reader

2. Note the drive letter for the SD card – in this example, we’re going to assume it’s “F,” so wherever you see “F” below, replace it with the drive letter for your SD card

3. Click on Start

4. Choose Run, then type “cmd” and press Enter

5. You should see a new command interface window open

6. Type the following, remembering to replace “F” with the drive letter for your SD card: attrib -h -r -s /s /d f:\*.*

Once the command has run, it should have removed the virus from the SD card. However, it doesn’t work in all cases. Fortunately, there is one more thing you can try before resorting to reformatting the card.

Another option for removing a virus from an SD card

If the manual method described doesn’t work, there are a couple of other options. The first is to manually copy as many of your photos and other files from the SD card as you can. Once you’ve done that, you can reformat the card. Here’s how to do that on a Mac:

1. Go to Applications, then Utilities, and double-click Disk Utility to launch it

2. Click on the SD card (not the volume underneath) in the sidebar

3. Choose the Erase tab

4. Type in a name for the card

5. Choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” as the format

6. Choose GUID Partition Map as the scheme

To reformat an SD card on a Windows PC, do the following:

1. Click on the Start menu and then choose the folder icon (above the cog on the left side of the screen) to open File Explorer

2. Choose This PC

3. Click on the name of your SD card

4. Select the Manage tab at the top of the window

6. Click on the menu under “File System” and choose exFAT

7. Type a name into the “Volume label” box

8. Press Start and then Ok

The SD card will now be erased and re-formatted. The virus will be gone, but so will all your data. So if there’s anything you weren’t able to copy to your computer before you reformatted, you’ll need to try and recover it.

The best way to recover data from an SD card is to use specialist recovery software. There are many tools available, including some that are specifically designed to recover photos from an SD card. Research which is the best one for your needs and find out whether you can try it for free to see if it finds any recoverable data before you pay for the software so you can recover it.

If you think the virus on your SD card may have been transferred to your computer, you should scan the computer using antivirus software. Several antivirus tools are available for Mac and PC, some of which will allow you to both scan and remove malware for free. An alternative, if you’re using a Mac, is to use the malware utility in CleanMyMac X. This tool scans your Mac at the click of a button and either returns a clean bill of health or allows you to remove any malware it finds at the click of a button. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Finding a virus on an SD card doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to reformat it — though you should copy your most precious photos from it as a precaution. It is possible to remove the virus without reformatting it. However, if you do have to wipe the SD card completely to get rid of the virus, running a data recovery tool specially designed for flash storage media might allow you to recover your data.

As someone with a lot of Apple devices, I recently decided to take the plunge and consolidate my data on a local NAS server. Once setup I had a shared drive for all of my devices. It was a great learning experience overall, but there was definitely some hair pulling moments. I want to use my experience to help anyone out there who is thinking of going the NAS route. Hopefully, in doing so, you can save your hair.

Free up a NAS and organize your remote storage

Before we get into my shared network drive tips, let’s start with the most basic question…

What is a NAS drive?

NAS stands for Network-Attached Storage. In plain language, a NAS is a centralized file storage device that other devices and computers can remotely connect to. The NAS is a shared network that allows these multiple devices to access and share large amounts of data.

Why did I get a NAS drive?

There are many good reasons to set up a NAS. For example, being able to access shared files across all your devices easily, or the devices within a family or office is a real time saver. Doing something fun like creating a library of music on your NAS, which can then be accessed from iTunes on any of your devices, is also really rewarding and convenient.

But personally, I was most interested in NAS as a backup solution. I’m interested in media, so I have a lot of big files, which meant stacks of external hard drives lying around. Some would get lost. I’d forget where specific files were. It was a nightmare.

I tried backing up to the cloud but again, the file sizes made it a challenge, and I had security concerns. So I got a NAS and set it up with redundancy in mind. Redundancy means that when a single drive inside the NAS dies, the content is never lost because it is mirrored on the other drives.

A shared drive sounds great. What’s the problem?

When consolidating a lot of files to a central location, you create the possibility of organizational chaos. Since you’re probably interested in a shared drive to better organize your digital life, it can be frustrating when faced with this very issue.

In the hope of saving you this frustration, below are my three biggest tips to organize and clean up your NAS drive.

Duplicates – NAS problem #1

One early example was after backing up photos from my Mac, my Macbook, my iPhone and my iPad. I felt pleased to have all my photos in one location, but I soon realized that I was creating mountains of duplicate photos.

I looked at my work folders. Same thing. Music folders? Yup. Video folders? Of course.

In the past, when cleaning up duplicate files on NAS, I’ve manually identified the duplicates and deleted them. But given how many files had more than one version now, I really couldn’t see an alternative beyond spending an entire weekend cleaning up the NAS drive by hand.

So I found my solution – Gemini 2: The duplicate file finder. This app is truly a life saver. Not only did it find hundreds of duplicate photos and other file types, but it also let me quickly choose which files to keep and which files to remove.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

At one point I accidentally deleted a photo that I did want in two locations, but Gemini 2 knows the dumping of duplicates is so fun that you may get carried away and make a mistake. So it even has an undelete feature, which I used to resurrect the photo. Sure, you can download and try Gemini 2 for free.

Another feature lets you find similar photos on all your storage drives, like five photos of your sleeping cat that look identical to the naked eye. I haven’t used this for now, but if space ever becomes an issue, it’s nice to know I have the option.

Create a Shared Music Library – NAS Problem #2

I mentioned earlier that I was able to set up a music library on my NAS, so that I could play my music from any device on the network. It also allowed me to free up space on my overflowing Macbook, which improved my Mac’s performance.

Successfully moving my iTunes library to my NAS took me a little while to figure it out, but you don’t have to make my missteps because below is are the steps I used to make my audio dream a reality.

  1. Close iTunes.
  2. Copy your entire iTunes folder (in the Music folder on your Mac) to the NAS.
  3. Hold Shift and launch iTunes. Continue holding Shift until prompted to locate or create a new library.
  4. Point iTunes to the iTunesLibrary.itl file on the NAS.
  5. Close iTunes.
  6. Move the existing iTunes folder on the Mac to another location or simply rename it.
  7. Launch iTunes and make sure everything is in order.
  8. Play your favorite tunes!

Important Note #1 – Time Machine only creates local backups, so your new iTunes library file and media on your NAS won’t be backed up automatically. Be sure to set up a new backup process for these files.

Important Note #2 – If your network is slow you may experience some lag when making changes to files in iTunes.

Low on Space – NAS Problem #3

I setup a NAS, in part, to have more space. But once I consolidated data from all my devices, and external drives, the massive amounts of space were chewed up so quickly!

I knew there were a lot of files that I could lose to make more free space on my network drive, but once again it seemed like it was going to take ages to look through each folder manually. I had such luck with Gemini that I decided to look for a solution again.

Here CleanMyMac X could help me. Its main purpose is to optimize Macs by clearing out junk files and memory-hogging apps. It has a tool called Large & Old Files that discovers what’s wasting space on storage.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Simply get CleanMyMac X to scan any shared folder or even the entire shared network, and it will return results for you to review. On the review screen, you can sort the files by size or when they were last used. This was a great way to identify the significant space-wasters easily.

For the ultimately shared drive cleanup, you can use the app to move whatever you want to the trash, to another location, or delete them permanently.

I found old work project files and within minutes I had cleared away almost 1TB.

A Shared Drive Doesn’t Have To Be NASty

If you’re on the fence about network sharing, let me push you off that fence. Having a NAS shared drive will connect your digital world, make everything easier, and keep your data safe. Shared drive organization can be a bit intimidating but follow my tips, and you’ll have a clean and organized NAS at the center of your shared network.

Digital transformation is often associated with highly innovative technologies like predictive analytics, AI, and robotic process automation (RPA). Common business applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems don’t often inspire quite the same level of enthusiasm.

Yet, although ERP isn’t new or disruptive, the technology is advancing from the back office to the forefront of business digitization. While its customary focus has been to help organizations unite traditional business-management solutions, ERP also provides a flexible foundation upon which organizations can integrate more cutting-edge technologies. Put simply, a well-configured ERP solution can help organizations strategically advance their digital maturity and drive transformation.

Implementation of ERP and ancillary technologies won’t be easy, but here are eight tips on how to execute a successful deployment and get the most value from your IT investments.

1. Align ERP and digital strategy

ERP should be fully aligned with your organization’s digital strategy, as well as its business objectives and processes. IT and business leaders must ensure that ERP is embedded in the organizational culture and serves as the foundation for technology modernization. A certain amount of education might be necessary, since using ERP as a foundation for digital transformation will be a novel concept for some stakeholders.

Executive buy-in will be critical to ensuring that the implementation extends beyond technology. You’ll need to maintain an unwavering focus on re-engineering business processes and comprehensive change-management initiatives for employees.

2. Implement in phases

Chances are good that implementation of an ERP system will temporarily disrupt day-to-day operations. Keep in mind that typical deployments last roughly 10 to 18 months, depending on the size and complexity of the company and its operations.

A phased deployment can help reduce the risk of disruption. Many businesses opt to implement ERP by individual module, updating functional groups one at a time. Doing so enables organizations to better understand the implementation process, challenges, and expectations for value. Incremental adoption also allows for employee training, one business function at a time; deployment teams can apply lessons learned from each launch to continually enhance deployment processes.

Another option is an incremental deployment by business location or site. This approach can help ensure project success by implementing modules at an initial site that serves as a pilot. This will enable you to establish a reference point, experience, and roadmap for subsequent rollouts across the organization.

3. Rewrite the right business processes

Digitally delivered customer preferences, market shifts, and rapidly evolving business models have made efficient processes critical to operational performance. Deployment or upgrade of an ERP system provides an opportunity to re-engineer and document operational processes from the beginning of the project. The goal is to redefine and streamline your business processes in ways that standardize operations across functional units and enable integration of leading-edge technologies.

You can, for instance, harness the power of RPA to automate manual processes across multiple functions to quickly and efficiently make low-level decisions. Another way to streamline operations is the use of AI to automate tasks like end-to-end processing of invoices for accounts payable.

It’s important to note that simply applying new technology to old processes isn’t effective. Now’s the time to strategically rethink your business processes in ways that, in combination with new digital tools, can really transform the organization.

4. Maximize your data

Data is the lifeblood of your business, and ERP provides a centralized information platform and a single point of truth. But the insights you glean will only be as good as the underlying data.

You’ll need to maximize the utility of your data with a comprehensive data-governance program and strategy for cleaning, managing, storing, and archiving disparate types of information. Data must be interoperable across all relevant sources to achieve real insights into your business performance.

It’s also essential that data is accurate, particularly when implementing data-driven technologies like predictive analytics. When centralized on the ERP platform, this data becomes a single point of truth for analytics across the organization. It should be clean and consistent to seamlessly flow from the ERP across the ecosystem.

5. Make ERP customer-centric

One of the most powerful strengths of ERP is its ability to improve the customer experience. That’s also a key driver – and an ideal outcome – of digital transformation.

ERP can help you align internal processes to deliver on customer needs. Business leaders should first identify critical customer interactions and leverage digitized data to tailor the experience. You’ll also need to refocus business processes on the customer and combine the right technologies. ERP should be integrated with systems like CRM and e-commerce to unite customer data, as well as help enhance inventory management, pricing, and supply-chain operations.

6. A path to the cloud

While on-premise deployment remains the most popular option among midsize businesses, cloud adoption is catching up. It’s easy to see why: Cloud-based ERP solutions are scalable, cost-effective, and offer strong cybersecurity safeguards. The cloud also provides a modern platform for deployment of new technologies.

Some businesses we know are implementing cloud-ready on-premises systems that can be moved to the cloud later. Doing so enables them to transition to cloud at their own pace, based on individual business strategy, resources, and evolving customer needs.

7. Training for change

Organizational change management is critical to successfully adopting ERP. Many people resist new technologies, so you’ll need to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent staff from using ERP and ancillary systems. Communications and training will be the backbone of instruction, and will require carefully considered programs to effectively educate your people in the processes and procedures for using new systems.

8. The next level in digital maturity

If your organization currently has a robust, well-integrated ERP system, you could be poised to build on that foundation and maximize your ERP investment by adding on emerging technologies like AI, RPA, and advanced analytics. Doing so can open a world of new possibilities. Consider, for instance, that businesses are beginning to deploy AI-driven products that automate functions like accounts payable. AI tools, when integrated with ERP, can programmatically capture, process, and pay invoices, as well as extract business-critical information that can be parsed to better understand performance and profit.

Contact

Paul Ricci, Partner, Technology & Data Practice Leader

John Yin, Principal, Technology & Data Practice

Al Olivares, Director, Technology & Data Practice

Purvesh Sheth, Director, Technology & Data Practice

by Chris Brook on Wednesday December 5, 2018

Learn about the difference between structured data and unstructured data and how to best protect it in Data Protection 101, our series on the fundamentals of information security.

When organizations prepare to collect, analyze and secure data, they need to understand there two kinds of data: structured and unstructured data. Each presents different challenges — especially when it comes to data security. It is important to understand both concepts.

Definition of Structured Data

Structured data usually is stored in relational databases and displayed in defined columns and rows. This allows data mining tools and algorithms to access and analyze it via search. Structured data can be used in:

● Airline reservation systems
● Inventory management systems
● Sales control and analysis
● ATM activity
● Customer relation management

Traditionally, business organizations relied on structured data to make decisions. There are many tools that support the collection and analysis of structured data to support business decisions.

Definition of Unstructured Data

Unstructured data is not organized but is stored in easily accessible and shared formats. Unstructured data can be found in:

● Emails
● Word processing documents.
● PDF files
● Image, audio and video files
● Social media posts
● Spreadsheets
● Mobile text messages

These formats make it easy to communicate information. Unfortunately, that ease also makes unstructured data vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Differences Between Structured and Unstructured Data

It seems rather obvious that the difference between structured and unstructured data is structure — or organization. That’s not such a useful distinction though. There are a few important differences between the two types of data.

Data Access

Keep in mind that structured data is organized for machines to understand. Humans have a tough time reading and understanding structured data, but we use unstructured data to communicate. That human accessibility makes it difficult for machines and algorithms to access and analyze unstructured data.

Some technology has been developed that allows machines and algorithms to analyze unstructured data, although compared to the analysis of structured data, these solutions are relatively new. Analyzing unstructured data relies on aggregating all available data, identifying the data integral to the problem at hand, and conducting analysis to identify patterns and relationships.

Data Entry

Databases rely on a restrictive, structured data entry so the data matches the structure defined by the database schema. Machines can analyze structured data because only certain types of data are entered in defined fields.

Unstructured Data in an Internal Structure

Also, unstructured data may be stored within a file with an internal structure but it does not adhere to a pre-defined data schema or structure.

Vulnerabilities of Structured and Unstructured Data

Structured data stored in databases can be secured relatively easily. Access can be restricted according to strict guidelines. But unstructured data is spread throughout an organization – it exists anywhere users are accessing or creating content.

Because sensitive information can be comprised of unstructured data, it isn’t automatically identified and protected. This makes it harder to:

● Know this vulnerable data exists and where it is stored
● Identify who has access to unstructured data and is using it
● Track the flow of unstructured data through an audit trail
● Communicate how to manage and protect unstructured data

Content pattern matching technology can scan servers and workstations to classify unstructured data. But those solutions often result in false positives and negatives, which can have a negative impact on workflow.

Best Practices for Securing Structured Data

Securing structured data may seem simpler than securing unstructured data but that doesn’t mean it’s an insignificant effort. It is an important part of IT governance that starts with:

● Creating a secure, central storage for secure data
● Tracking data entry and usage
● Managing authentication and encrypted communication with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol
● Protecting devices with secure passwords
● Using remote access to locate and wipe data from missing devices
● Training employees on policies and best practices

Best Practices for Securing Unstructured Data

Securing unstructured data presents different challenges than protecting structured data. It helps to start with the same best practices for securing structured data, but also includes:

Identify Unstructured Data at Point of Creation

Where is your unstructured data being generated and stored? Often, it’s coming from a structured data source. Data may be exported from a database into a shared document on the cloud or stored on a thumb drive. This strips away the protections from access controls and monitoring.

The security risk can be mitigated with secure data environments to store the unstructured data files.

Classify Unstructured Data

Not all unstructured data is sensitive or needs to be secured in a vault. Review what the unstructured data means to those who consume it and its sensitivity level. Sensitive unstructured data includes:

● Data that must be preserved for legal or regulatory reasons
● Proprietary data, i.e. intellectual property, banking details, or customer lists
● Personally identifiable information (PII) for customers and employees

Some unstructured data has high analytical value across the organization. If it is too hard to use, employees may use personal storage or cloud accounts to store data — making it less secure.

Assign an Owner to Sensitive, Unstructured Data

Find the people who are collecting and modifying unstructured data. Make them responsible for its security. If you don’t know who the owner is, many viewers of that data can identify its source — the owner.

The unstructured data owner is key to securing the data and maintaining it in a way that informs its consumers.

Identify Who Has Access to Structured and Unstructured Data

These people are key to securing control over who has access to control of data.

They also are capable to:

● Restrict who has access to sensitive sources of data.
● Manage how they access it from remote devices.
● Monitor user activity.

Structured and unstructured data are of equal importance to enterprises, yet many data protection efforts focus on securing structured data without taking adequate measures to protect the data that’s just as sensitive but often more challenging to secure: unstructured data. Today’s enterprises require robust data protection solutions that effectively secure all forms of data created, utilized, and maintained by the organization.

It’s time you sat down and organized your music collection, once and for all. Here’s some tips to help you come up with a system for the madness.

I’ll be the first to admit my music collection is less than organized. To be honest, I hate dealing with it. I despise going file by file, renaming, adding the album title, track number and so on. It’s a hassle.

With that said, organizing your music collection is something that needs to be done. Once you get a system down, it’s easy to continue down the path of a more organized music collection.

Store music on your computer

For those readers who still purchase music in the traditional CD format, you need to think about turning that disc collection into a digital collection. Luckily, there are many different apps and services available to help you rip music from a CD, turning it into an MP3 (or other digital) file.

One such app is iTunes . iTunes will rip a CD and place the files into your library, requiring very little effort from you. You can customize how iTunes handles a CD by launching the preferences or settings screen, then looking for the “When a CD is inserted” section.

Naturally, not everyone is a fan of iTunes. With that in mind, Windows users can read through this post for tips on using Exact Audio Copy to rip CD’s. Mac users can use a free app called Max to take more control over ripping music on a Mac.

Organization

Of course, once you start ripping music — or perhaps you’ve already ripped your music to your computer — you’ll want to keep it organized. Doing this can be easy if you let a program such as iTunes do it for you. By selecting a few options (pointed out above) in iTunes preferences, you can ensure your music is filtered and sorted into a concise catalog.

If you would rather organize your collection on your own, you can do so by creating a folder hierarchy. Create folders for each artist, with subfolders for each album and so on.

Tagging

Perhaps the most annoying part of organizing a music collection is the metadata associated with each music file. The data, called tags, lets you and your music player of choice know in what order to play songs, who the music is by, its genre, and so forth.

When tagging for an entire album is wrong, it’s very time consuming to go back and edit each individual track in iTunes or the like. So, instead of wasting your time, try a free cross-platform app called MusicBrainz Picard. It’s not the best-looking app, or the most intuitive to use, but it does the job quite well.

You can add a entire folder, or just a few tracks to the app and let it work its magic. As always, when dealing with an app that changes files, make sure you back up your collection before letting the app go wild.

Streaming

Speaking of backing up your music collection, let’s take a look at free and paid streaming services that also act as a backup for your catalog. Between iTunes Match, Google Play Music, Xbox Music and Amazon Prime Music you have four solid options to back up your collection, and at the same time remotely stream your music.

iTunes Match does cost $25 per year, but it allows you to match your entire iTunes catalog with Apple’s iTunes catalog. Any music not found by Apple in its collection will be uploaded to the service on your behalf. It doesn’t matter where (or how) you obtained the files. Going forward, you can delete the music files on your computer or iOS device to save some space, but still access your collection from any iCloud connected device.

Amazon offers Prime Music as part of a Prime membership. The service offers unlimited, ad-free radio station-like streaming along with the ability to upload up to 250 songs from your own library. For $25 per year, in addition to your Prime membership fee, you can upload and store 250,000 songs in your Prime Music library.

With Google Play Music, you can upload up to 25,000 songs for free and access your collection from nearly any Internet-connected device. As with iTunes Match, once your catalog is uploaded, you can delete the files from your computer to save storage space on your computer’s hard drive.

Microsoft has finally enabled free streaming of your own music library that’s stored in OneDrive. Just make sure to upload your music files directly to the Music folder in your OneDrive account. The only downside here is you’re restricted to using an Xbox or Windows 8.1 device in order to listen to your music.

The service you end up using is going to differ based on which ecosystem you’re most invested in. At the end of the day, however, each service offers it’s own solution and a better way of managing your music.

Editors’ note: It’s spring cleaning time! This week’s theme: organizing your device. Check back every day this week to see how best to keep your devices clutter-free. And be sure to return next week for more spring cleaning tips and tricks.

This How To post was originally published on April 4, 2014, and has been updated to include new information.

Get your workgroup to create a system that encourages cleaning common areas.

How to cleanup your digital organization system

Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but it turns out most of us don’t aspire to be Godly. We’re happy just to be human. And messy. In fact, Eden wrote in saying, “Every few weeks, my co-workers and I decide we’ll clean up after ourselves and keep our public space tidy. Nothing changes. We leave mugs in the break room, and we just walk past, leaving them there. How can we start picking up after ourselves?”

This episode is sponsored by Stitcher SmartRadio, where you can hear your favorite podcast without syncing! Download it free and be entered to win $100 using promo code done: http://www.stitcher.com/done

How to Motivate Employees to Clean Up

You know what the irony is, here? I’ll bet your co-workers have kids at home. I’ll bet those kids have messy rooms, and I’ll bet the parents yell and scream at the kids to clean their room. Actually, that makes a lot of sense. Their kids mess up their home, and they retaliate subconsciously by messing up the office. The human brain is a wonderful thing for spreading misery far and wide.

Use Peer Pressure to Motivate Employees to Clean Up

It sounds like your whole office likes the idea of cleaning up. That makes things easier. You can use your creativity to come up with several different ways to make that happen, and then have the group choose which way(s) to adopt.

This being the workplace, and most workplaces being ruled by fear, terror, and shame, those are probably the first tools that we would reach for. Agree to throw away any mug left uncleaned for more than a day. Or label everyone’s mugs so you know who the culprits are, and have a big wall of shame where you pin a picture of people who leave dirty dishes. Call it “The Wall of Ninnies Who Need a Mommy to Pick Up After Them.”

Try Humiliation. or Money

Each time you see someone who’s listed on the wall, ridicule them and insult their ancestry, their children, their taste in clothes, and their sexual prowess. When your boss or office visitors come by, make sure to walk by the poster and sweetly mention how much you admire your co-workers, who are brave enough to wallow in their own filth and display it publicly. Once you reduce them to tears once or twice, they’ll stop.

Instead of emotion, you could fine people money. If your mug gets discovered, it goes into the Cupboard of Doom. In order to get a mug out of the cupboard, the culprit must pay $5. Then you can use the money to buy cotton candy and unicorn treats for everyone in the office who has been good enough to keep the kitchen clean.