5 tech resolutions to start 2015 off right

It seems like there's never a good time to get on top of your tech issues, so start the New Year off right by making time to implement these give critical New Year's tech resolutions. It won't take long to make sure your PC is backed up, your passwords are protected and more. Here's what to do:

Protect your PC with antivirus software. No matter what version of Windows you're running, you need the protection of antivirus (or antimalware) software. You don't have to spend money, though; there are a slew of excellent free programs that provide adequate protection. Consider Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG Antivirus or Bitdefender, to name just three.

Back up your computer. Is your hard drive backed up? If your hard drive failed tomorrow, would you be able to recover important files? Get a solid backup plan in place right away. There are many ways to back up your computer -- just make sure whatever you do, it's automatic and unassisted, so you don't need to remember to deal with it. You can rely on an online backup service like Carbonite or Mozy, but it can be time-consuming to get your data back in play afterwards. For more immediate access, consider a backup program like Casper that images your entire drive on a regular basis.

Invest in the cloud. It's not 2012 anymore; cloud storage is a mature, affordable, and convenient solution that's here to stay. You can avoid the danger of local drive failure buy storing your files in the cloud, and that gives you immediate access to your stuff from any computer or device to boot. Microsoft has come out from behind with unlimited OneDrive storage if you are an Office 365 subscriber, but Dropbox, Google Drive and Box all have a lot going for them as well.

Get a UPS. I once worked in an office with a team of developers who were working on a tight deadline. A loud bang signaled our entire building losing power, and every PC immediately went dark. From down the hall, someone shouted, "That's the sound of the project slipping by a week." If you don't have an Uninterruptible Power Supply connected to your desktop PC, any significant power fluctuation can take your computer down before you have a chance to save your work. A UPS is an inexpensive safety policy for your computer, particularly in-progress, unsaved files.

Adopt a password manager. Hopefully you know by now that every security expert will tell you that the key to online safety is making sure that all of your websites are protected by a unique, strong password. Obviously, no one can remember hundreds of passwords, and you shouldn't write them down. Instead, entrust your passwords to a password manager like Dashlane, LastPass, or Roboform. Any of these programs can secure your hundreds of passwords behind a strong and secure master password -- the only one you need to commit to memory -- and automatically unlock your sites for you by auto-filling logins. Password managers are now absolutely essential.