Are you your family CFE? (In other words, Chief Fix Everything?)If it needs repair, do they come to you? That’s me. If it’s wood, metal or plastic, I can cut it, glue it, screw it or weld it. If it’s electrical or electronic, I’ve already broken it and now I know how to fix it. Everyone’s day job spills into personal time, like it or not. Professional cleaners clean their own homes and sometimes those of their family members. Computer technicians fix all the families PCs. Nurses are the family health practitioners. My day job is to talk about IT and some of the security around it.

I used to get pretty frequent requests to fix family PCs, which meant I’d usually have to get into my vehicle at an inopportune time and commence repairs on a device that should probably have been tossed years ago. But today, I’ve solved lots of those problems by doing a few key things to keep the upkeep down.

#1 Make everyone upgrade: Tell them no more repairing of old WinXP machines. Either upgrade to Win8 or get a Mac.

#2 Set up admin rights: Only those qualified should be able to install software. Often that means only the CFE.

#3 Set up a remote access network: Remote access software allows you to stay home to access your family members’ PCs. Whether you’re a road warrior or simply own multiple PCs or are the family fixer or just want access to all your data from anywhere, there are a few easy ways to do it. A quick search on “remote access” pulls up numerous options.

#4 Set automatic updates: Software often lets you know it needs updating. Sometimes it’s monthly; often, it’s less frequent. But by setting software to auto download and update, you reduce popups that often confuse your family members.

#5 Schedule four- to six-month reviews: By logging in at least quarterly, you can clean out any bloat, fix whatever’s broken and update whatever software licenses need attention.

#6 Install security: You need all the fundamentals, such as antivirus and a firewall, but an often overlooked security tool is a personal VPN that protects wired and wireless communications from data sniffers. Hotspot Shield VPN is a great option that protects your entire web surfing session, securing your connection at both your home internet network and on public internet networks (both wired and wireless). Hotspot Shield’s free proxy protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS—the protected internet protocol.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

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