A new year is the perfect time to take stock of your personal and professional IT strategy. Chances are you had a few tech headaches in 2016. A few proactive measures now can prevent problems down the road.
These 2017 IT tips will keep you prepared for any snags you might face this year.
1. Beef Up Your Passwords
Do you have a default password you use for most sites and services? Be honest. While it may be easy to always choose a variation on your dog’s name, similar passwords are a major security hole. If someone gets one of your passwords, they suddenly have access to a whole lot more.
Require yourself and your employees to use a free password manager like KeePass or LastPass this year. They make it incredibly easy to generate a different strong password for every account, service or site.
2. Get a Jump on Spring Cleaning
Like any car or appliance, computers need regular tune-ups to run at peak performance. Luckily, there are plenty of free, easy-to-use tools to pull unwanted junk off your hard drive.
Windows users should check out WinDirStat, which gives you a visual breakdown of what’s taking up the most space on your machine. You can also research how to set which apps and programs launch at startup on Windows and Mac machines, to cut down on unnecessary load times.
Our favorite tool for this purpose is CCleaner, available on both Mac and PC. This fast program removes all temporary files like downloads, browser history and the recycle bin’s contents. It often leads to drastic increases in computer speed - just be sure there’s nothing in any of those folders you might need before you run it!
3. Consider the Cloud
Cloud computing - storing documents and running processes on a remote server rather than a local machine - will only grow in popularity this year. If you haven’t yet tried moving some of your work to the cloud, now is a perfect time to start.
Try a small step like setting your office up on Google’s G Suite. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to collaborate on spreadsheets, documents and other files.
4. Back Up Everthing
Backups are the best protection against IT nightmares. Losing all of your data is a much smaller issue if you’ve got a copy of that data that’s only a day or two behind. Schedule weekly or even daily backups on all company devices.
While local backups are nice, backing up to cloud services are even better. That way you can even lose your physical machine and still be able to get work done. And don’t stop with computers - all company devices like tablets and smartphones should also get regular backups.
5. Anti-Virus is Essential
You need some sort of anti-virus protection on your computers and network. Free programs like AVG and Malwarebytes (for malware) are a great start, and if you don’t have any protection you should install one or both right away.
For full protection, however, you’ll want a professional IT team that can protect your sensitive data from a wide range of attacks.