When we emerge bleary-eyed from the festivities of Christmas, thoughts of the year ahead will inevitably come creeping in, and it will be time to make a New Year’s resolution. Whether you decide to get out and run or to improve your money management, tech is here to help.
If you are someone ahead of the curve, you may be planning to enhance your personal cybersecurity, a resolution you can really achieve with the application of a new mind-set and perhaps some password management software for good measure.
2018 will bring new opportunities to banking customers, making it a good year to take a new approach to managing your money. PSD2 is arriving in January, bringing with it a world of new banking choices for customers of the established banks.
Read on to explore how you could achieve a really meaningful New Year’s resolution this year, even if it is the same old healthy living one you make every year sometime after 12:00pm on Christmas Day!
Every year since time began people have been making the solemn pledge that a strict fitness regime will begin in January. For some this is a yearly occurrence, stunned by the results of a month of indulgence and horrified by the reality of fast approaching springtime.
Other people make this resolution in a less habitual way, committed to achieving life-changing results. Regardless of which category you are in, if you are making the fitness resolution there has never been more technological support for achieving your goals.
Your first tech port of call ought to be a Fitbit, and we have chosen the Fitbit Charge 2 in particular as the recommended accomplice to achieving post-Christmas fitness.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is renowned for consistency and comfort, made still easier to use by a large display. Another strong feature offered by the Charge 2 is an impressive 5-day battery life, meaning that the device is likely to be ready to go at all times providing you charge it at least once a week.
It will keep track of all of your activity throughout the day while also being able to give you some insight on your sleeping, providing a useful tracking system. The device also provides the important, core capabilities you might expect, cardio fitness level score, breathing exercises and automatic tracking for different sports.
GPS is not included in the device, a feature that some more high-tech examples might offer, but if you are on a mission to pound the pavement and simply make a fresh start after the Christmas period, the Charge 2 is ideal. The device is now also available for under £100, currently available on Amazon for just £97.99!
Improve your cybersecurity
You would be very wise to consider making this your New Year’s resolution this year, with the threat landscape becoming increasingly perilous as attackers engage in mass phishing campaigns targeting the personal data of ordinary users.
Above all, having the right attitude is the first and most important step toward achieving a better personal cybersecurity standing. People make and use terrible passwords; ignoring the risks and leaving themselves wide open for attack.
Many sites and services now require a certain degree of complexity before a password can be set, but this does not solve the problem. Users consistently choose to use the same password for all of their accounts, negating the effectiveness of a suitably complex combination. Further adding to the problem, users tend to never or very rarely change their passwords. So if you can right some of these wrongs in your own approach, you are off to a winning start.
You might be put off completely by the idea of having to keep track of numerous complex passwords containing numbers and special characters, but fear not, our advice would be to use password management software. 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and RoboForm are reputable examples of this software, all of which will take over the task of remembering your passwords, a mission so often sabotaged simply by being human.
Getting an authentication device is also a recommendable tech step to take if you really want to double down on your cybersecurity. The Microsoft Authenticator app is a good example, or you can get physical authentication devices. When using an authenticator, you will need to provide your ordinary password to access a device, for example, but you will then also need to apply the code generated by the device.
While we have focussed on personal security, it would also be a good idea for business leaders to make cybersecurity their New Year’s resolution. GDPR is arriving in May, and organisations will need to be compliant with the new rules on data protection. A massive fine is what awaits those who do not bring their cybersecurity capabilities up to standard before the time comes.
Take a new approach to banking
In January, the PSD2 directive is arriving from the EU, this will require major banks to make their customer data available to third party providers of banking services. While the big banks may not be looking forward to having to relinquish the data, the situation is set to be a big opportunity for the customer.
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With PSD2 in place, banking customers will have the option to use the capabilities offered by fintech companies for example, many of which are leveraging cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence. These technologies are intended to provide an entirely new, streamlined approach, granting transparency, visibility and efficiency to banking.
Open Banking in the UK is another change coming in January 2018, relinquishing control of customer data from the nine largest providers of current accounts. Barclays has taken a proactive approach to informing users of what they need to know and how they can benefit by releasing an educational document online.
Learn some tech skills
If you also happen to be looking for a new job in 2018, this resolution could kill two birds with one stone because the world is in desperate need of tech skills. Areas like cybersecurity are crying out for analysts and skilled individuals to defend against attackers on the frontline, ever increasing attack volumes are making it impossible for the few cybersecurity professionals to cope.
AI skills are also in critical demand, and this is set to be increased as automation is brought in to tackle the growing cyber threats. AI development is going on across the full spectrum of industry, with disruptive enterprise applications keenly sought after by major organisations.
You may not be ready to step into an area as complex and intense as AI or cybersecurity, but anyone, children included, can begin to learn to code. While forming the foundation of practical technology skill, coding is still vitally important and sought after. Courses can be bought online, granting an insight into a new skillset that could make you an extremely desirable employee, or grant you a great deal of satisfaction.
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