Every year we make resolutions to improve ourselves: lose weight, travel the world and become more technically savvy! Okay maybe the last one didn’t make your list but it should! Here are some New Year’s resolutions to improve your use of technology, protect your data and help your business be more productive in 2018 giving you more time to look great in your bathing suit in Bali. Here’s our New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Tech list:
1. Passwords and Authentication (no, “Password123” is not secure)
Make the hacker’s work hard this year! Time to start caring about security, and change those passwords you’ve been using since you first got your AOL account. Create a revolving task on your Calendar to change passwords every 90 days. Looking for some guidance on choosing a secure password? Here’s a quick article on password guidance from our friends at Duo.
If you’re not already using two factor authentication for your online accounts, you need to enable it today. Here are quick guides on how to enable 2 factor for Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Most major banks offer 2 factor as well. Enable it, I said “ENABLE IT”!!!
2. Clean your hardware (literally)
Time to cleanup all those food groups from your keyboard. Use some compressed air to clean out the dust and crumbs between the keys. Clean off your display with a monitor wipe or use a microfiber cloth and some Windex (a quick wipe of the back of your sleeve will not remove that chocolate smear, I know I tried). It’s time to remove all evidence of the 100’s, who are we kidding, 1000’s of cookies we consumed over the holiday! Clean out your printers’ paper trays and roller. Keeping your hardware clean will help prolong its life saving you time and money.
3. Update your company’s technology (time to take inventory)
We all want our technology to last forever like our favorite pair of jeans. We’ve bookmarked all of our favorite shortcuts, our screen saver is set to the beach that we resolved to drink a Corona on this year, and there are all of those years of data that may or may not have been backed up on our hard drive. Sadly all good things must come to an end. Planning ahead is important for any business, but technology needs are often forgotten. Determining what you have, how long you’ve had it, and what may need updating can help you prepare for when your employees 6 year old desktop needs to replaced and you receive a nasty-gram saying “My computer won’t startup anymore!”.
Knowing what you are using and what you aren’t will help streamline your technical needs and free up storage on your hardware. Make sure you aren’t paying for extra licenses or for old applications you aren’t using. Take a look at new tech developments that may be more productive for your business needs. Getting rid of the old will allow you to budget for new technology.
4. Clean out the Tech Graveyard (go Green)
We all have that one closet, just filled with things we haven’t used in years, and now is a great time to get rid of the never used and out of date hardware and software. Remember to check for local electronics recycling programs, as a lot of business equipment can be recycled. If your old hardware, has sensitive data on it, then we suggest using a recycling service that offers Electronics Recycling with Data destruction. If you’re in New York City, check our blog post for recycling resources.
5. Back it up! (SERIOUSLY!)
You do have backups don’t you? Backing up important personal and business critical data is one of the most important decisions you should make this year! You wouldn’t put your money in a bank if it weren’t insured, so why would you forgo insuring the data that backs your business? The only way to ensure that backups are working properly is to actually try restoring data from your backups. Schedule time on your calendar at least once per quarter to ensure that backups are running and also run a test data restore. Seriously!!!
6. Remove Digital Clutter (do you really need an entire file of Facebook memes?)
Don’t just remove the clutter from your life, remove it from your computer! Let’s call it a digital diet. Review your desktop icons, documents, favorites, and programs. Uninstall applications and plugins that you’re not using. Remove or archive documents and favorites that you don’t need. If you use your desktop to store files and folders, then we suggest using a program like Fences by Stardock to help keep your Desktop organized.
7. Evaluate network security (safety first)
If you don’t have a paid anti-virus solution and a firewall then you’re exposing your personal or business data to preventable attack. Cyber-attacks are becoming common place today, and making sure you have the right protections in place will make your network safer, and can eliminate costly downtime.
8. Update your software (efficiency, safety, and a whole new set of emojis 🙂 )
Keeping your operating system and applications up to date is crucial. Updates can make your business more efficient as technology is constantly advancing and more secure by preventing cyberattacks such as ransomware from infecting your computers. Make sure you have enabled automatic updates on your PC and MAC as well as your applications, browsers and plugins. Schedule some time at least once per quarter to perform a manual check to ensure that the automatic updates are working.
9. Consider Outsourcing to an IT Pro
If you’re responsible for a small business, you’ve made it to this paragraph, and you’re hyperventilating you should consider outsourcing your IT needs to a Professional. You’re likely saying to yourself, “Who has the time to do all of this stuff”? Managed IT Service Providers, that’s who! Consider hiring an MSP (such as Diligex) in 2018 to take all the above IT tasks and more off your plate. We’re more affordable than you may think.