Delete Sensitive Files

Approaches to Information Management

Susan would often return in her memories to the time after John’s death. She was trying to understand what she could do in order to prevent at least some of the situations she went through. She remembered her frustration when Amy and her would go through all the things at his home. They would feel like gold-miners, trying to find hints about anything that needed their attention. Her way to get over the difficult times was to laugh about them. She would often share a story about looking for computer files that would have an interest to be preserved. First of all, they found out that John didn’t have any system for organizing of his files. He was a good photographer and they wanted to keep some of his pictures. Luckily, his photographs were all together. In a folder called ‘holidays’ they found photos from his last trip to Paris. In one of them, his girl-friend was laying naked in an erotic pose on the bed of the hotel room.

Advantages of an Organizational Scheme

Organizational schemes are a crucial element for successful information management. Each of them is variable and reflects personal needs and preferences. An organizational scheme should address a physical location, appropriate devices for keeping the information, structure and naming convention, synchronization and backups. We should also understand what advantages we gain with different keeping approaches. Generally, we either file everything immediately, file something and leave the rest or file nothing. Filing everything turns out to be unnecessary as it costs many efforts that might be better invested in other activities. Filing nothing doesn’t seem to be the best option either. Our space can get overly crowded and it can become difficult to find the information that corresponds to our current needs. Filing something and leaving the rest, often proves to be the most efficient as it enables us to organize and maintain the really important things, while we can always get back to the rest of it that stays in our personal information space as our needs arise.

The most common digital artifacts affected by the organizational scheme are the digital files stored on our computers and other devices. However, the scheme may also include other digital artifacts that we use: our email account, which is perhaps the most powerful digital asset, the social networking websites, which are likely the most influencing digital assets and other digital tools and services, such as Amazon that we use for shopping or PayPal, which we use to perform payment transactions.

When considering the physical location of our information, we take decisions, whether we want to store our information locally on our computer, cell phone, external hard disk, music player and so on, or in the cloud, using services such as Dropbox, iCloud, Flickr or Facebook and alike. Both of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages. The information kept locally occupies space on our devices, but we have a much better control over it and we can access it whenever and wherever we want. Storing our information items in the cloud requires further concerns about privacy and security and we often need to be connected to the Internet. When deciding which of the locations is more appropriate, we should think about the circumstances in which we will use the specific information item and the accessibility of internet connection. A Photoshop file may be better accessed from our computer, while stored either locally or in the cloud, the collection of the phone numbers will be probably accessed from our cell phone, we will read e-books and PDFs on our Kindle and listen to our music on our MP3 player.

A good organizational scheme can significantly increase our productivity and reduce the demand on our resources. It can also help our bereaved to understand what content is stored within our files. Prior to the decision whether to alter or update our organizational scheme, we have to measure and evaluate the possible costs and benefits. We have to make an extra effort to convert our older scheme to correspond to the new one, as keeping it as it is may create considerable problems with the information retrieval.