New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be hard. If you want to be more secure and safe online in 2011, the Trend Micro crew in Ottawa offers some quick and easy ways to make your New Year’s resolutions a reality. These insider tips will save you time and money, and go a long way to prevent your online information from being compromised.

“These tips won’t prepare you for a marathon, but if you resolve to take a few minutes to update, backup and clean up your PC or MAC files, you’ll sprint to a safe and secure online start to the New Year,” says Trend Micro’s Ian Gordon, Director of Marketing.

1. New Year. New Passwords. The easiest change you can make this year – increase the strength of your passwords, write them down and put them in a safe place (not beside your computer). For the strongest passwords, don’t use words at all. Use random letters, numbers and special characters to make a pattern on your keyboard. For example: qWe4%6yUi is much stronger than the name of your first pet.

2. Dude! Back up those files. The New Year is the right time to get in the habit of backing up your files regularly before a hard drive failure, theft or physical disaster provides a gut-wrenching reminder to do so.

3. Update your operating system, Web browser and media applications. Updates are among the best defenses against attack, so take a few minutes to patch those holes before hackers find them.

4. Start 2011 Clutter free. Do yourself and your computer a favor and perform a New Year’s cleaning. Your desk or laptop may be slowing down under the burden of all that clutter. Take a few minutes to uninstall unused programs, delete unneeded temp files, get rid of old email attachments and defragment your drive.

5. Install the latest security software suite and keep it updated. Today’s security software is more effective and easier to use, and it offers exhaustive protections against cybercriminals, viruses and everything in between. There are free trials available so you can be protected without breaking the bank.