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Don't Need It? Delete It!

May 27, 2020

Just like in real life, our digital lives can become cluttered and messy if we don’t take care to clean up now and then. Additionally, removing files that could contain sensitive information can protect you from attackers - hackers can’t steal what isn’t there!  Downloaded files, unneeded applications, and old documents are all examples of items that should be removed periodically.

If you don’t need it, delete it! We’re all busy but these 5 tips will save you time and effort in the long run.

  1. Set a time to review your files
  2. Make sure you delete or securely delete files no longer needed
  3. Check out ASU’s policy for data handling storage
  4. Review the services available to appropriately store the data you need
  5. Check out the Dropbox offer for your personal storage needs


Here are the details you need to move to a “If you don’t need it, delete it” model.

Set a recurring calendar reminder to regularly review and then dispose of anything superfluous. We recommend at least once a month, and as a precursor to routine backups. In addition to manually checking through documents, downloads, and desktop folders, a cleanup program such as Disk Cleanup (Windows - built-in) or CCleaner (Win/Mac - https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download) can help locate and remove temp files and other unneccessary data.

On most computers, deleting a file does not completely destroy the contents. Sending a file to the trash or recycle bin merely marks the space it occupies as free - the file contents are still there, and could be accessible by anyone with the right tools! Make sure you empty the trash or recycle bin, or better yet, consider using a secure erase tool. These tools will make files completely unrecoverable!

Now that you’ve gotten rid of all that stuff that you don’t need, how do you properly store what you do need? ASU’s Data Handling Standard details ASU data classifications and storage/transmission requirements for Public, Internal, Sensitive and Highly-Sensitive data. Additionally, the ASU Information Security Office provides a Data Handling Matrix that can help determine appropriate storage mediums for your data.

Also, as a special offer during National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Dropbox is offering a 30% discount on Dropbox Pro for personal accounts. Dropbox Pro offers 1TB of space (vs. 2GB with free accounts), and advanced security features (remote wipe on devices, password-protection and expiration on links). Click here for more information on the Dropbox Pro offer: https://getprotected.asu.edu/content/dropbox-pro-offer-national-cyber-security-awareness-month