Roots & Wings Online

Home Technology Refresh Challenge

April Sather, Ladera resident and technology system and security professional says that over time we build up of digital devices, services and data creates a digital sprawl of clutter that can feel a bit overwhelming at times, can lead to unnecessary costs, and sub-standard performance of services such as your internet signal. Take the Home Technology Refresh Challenge and boost your household's technology effectiveness and resiliency.

As many facets of our lives return to normal after a two-year pandemic rollercoaster, one thing has changed permanently: our appreciation for, and reliance on technology. It kept us connected, productive, educated, informed and engaged. For those of us with strong technology essentials in place, such as a high-speed Internet connection, full-home Wi-Fi coverage and up-to-date computers, peripherals (e.g., cameras, microphones, printers) had one experience, while those without, had another. Things that we thought we could get by without, or would upgrade later, became essential and scarce at the same time.

Make this season an opportunity to take an objective look at your technology and create an action plan to close any gaps. How many of the following can you say ‘yes’ to with confidence?


  • My cable modem is up to date and compatible with Ladera’s Cox Gigablast service.
  • All rooms in my home have an acceptable Wi-Fi speed and coverage to support work, school, home security, home automation and home entertainment needs.
  • I regularly update my network router firmware.


  • My desktop/laptop/mobile files are automatically backed up to a different location. If they were lost, stolen, or infected with malware (e.g., ransomware), I would be able to restore them without a problem.
  • I can access my important data, files and photos from any device by leveraging a reliable and secure cloud-based solution. 


  • My devices are reliable and capable (e.g. have enough memory, hard drive space, processing power) to support the latest operating systems and applications that are important to me.
  • My desktop, laptop, phones, Smart TVs and gaming consoles, have the latest hardware/firmware and software updates installed.
  • I uninstall applications that I do not use from my computer and phone and cancel recurring subscriptions to applications and services that I no longer use.
  • I periodically check the security and privacy settings (e.g., in browsers, apps, devices) to ensure they are aligned with my preferences.
  • I regularly scan my devices for malware.


  • My computer camera and microphone quality are sufficient for taking part in video meetings/appointments using mainstream tools such as (e.g., Zoom, Teams, Google Meet).
  • I have (or have access to) a printer or multi-function printer/scanner/copier that meets my needs and maintain at least three months’ worth of supplies on hand (e.g., toner and paper).
  • Regularly update peripheral software and firmware (e.g., printers, headsets, mice, cameras).


  • I periodically dispose of broken, outdated technology through donation, selling and recycling.
  • I cancel auto-renewals for services I don’t use anymore. (e.g., unused, or excess anti-virus subscriptions, entertainment and/ or gaming subscriptions, Box or Dropbox accounts, Microsoft O365, Apple app subscriptions).
  • I have a technology refresh routine and budget.

While not everything on the following list may apply to your home technology set-up, it may have sparked an idea or two for where you can begin.

Take the technology refresh challenge and prioritize one item on this list this summer and take the next step towards building your household technology effectiveness and resiliency.

Author: April Sather is a technology system and security professional. She is also a member of the LARCS Technology Advisory Committee