Technology and IT is essential in the modern workplace, but many of us don’t take care of it as well as we should.

Problems, issues and slow down is inevitable with computers and technology, but how you treat your IT and how you manage it can make a huge difference to the longevity of your equipment. Here are some practical steps you can take to improve the life of your business IT…

Restart Your Computer

The phrase “Have you tried turning it off and on again” has become something of a cliché, but it works more often than you’d think…. If your machine is running slowly, often a reboot will help bring things back up to speed. Laptops are very easy to close and put into sleep mode at the end of the working day, without properly shutting down. If you have been doing this for weeks on end, slow down is bound to occur. Updates can’t apply if you don’t reboot your PC either. Updates can introduce protection against malicious software or bugs, and by not restarting, you leave yourself open to vulnerabilities. Be sure to properly shut down your machine when is convenient, or at least try to restart it every few days to keep things running smoothly.

Clean Your Machine

PCs are magnets for dust, as the cooling fans are constantly sucking air into the inside of the machine. With air comes dust and lint, and if you don’t keep on top of cleaning it away, the build ups can affect the performance of the PC. Sometimes, eating lunch at your desk has to be done (especially if you have big deadlines coming up), however food can easily drop between keyboard keys, or into ventilation holes of your PC. Be aware of the dirt and dust that can collect in your machines and be sure to clean them regularly. We’ve found all sorts of rubbish stuck inside of PC towers, including sweets, coins, melted chocolate and even a dirty Kleenex… so be prepared!

Back Up Your Data

Your company’s data is precious, and with the recent introduction of GDPR rules, data should be at the forefront of everybody’s minds. Due to GDPR, it is necessary to keep data encrypted, and if you’re using a cloud backup solution, you must make sure that the backup server location keeps you GDPR complaint (servers located outside of the EU may not be compliant for example). If you are storing data locally on machines, you run the risk of losing it all should something go wrong with the device. Backing up your data online, via cloud storage, ensures the data is accessible from different locations, even if something does go wrong with one of your devices. We have more information on backing up your business data here, including the solutions we use when working with our clients.

Don’t Run Too Many Programs at Once

As you would expect, the more programs a machine is running, the less productive and efficient they become. Less demanding programs like web browsers and Microsoft Office products are fine to run at the same time, but programs like image or video editing suites can be taxing on your CPU and RAM. Unless you have high end machines or Macs designed to cope with heavy use, you’ll notice extreme slow down, leading to frustration from your perspective, and possibly even crashes, requiring you to hard reboot. This results in lost time, productivity and maybe even lost data. Work to your machine’s capabilities and be mindful of running too many operations at once.

Remove Unused Applications and Plugins

If you don’t use an application, get rid of it (with the permission of your IT administrator of course)! Unused programs not only clutter up your hard drive, they can also run unknowingly in the background, taking up resources while you’re trying to work on other things.

Erase or Destroy Old Hard Drives

When it comes to replacing your old hardware, you should think about what you’re going to do with your old devices and machines. We have a guide on getting rid of your old machines here - it’s not as simple as just throwing them in a skip! One bad habit that we have noticed in particular is that many people don’t properly erase their personal data or dispose of hard drives properly when getting rid of them. You can erase your data completely from hard drives, but if you don’t do it properly, some data can actually be retrieved, leaving you and your business vulnerable should it fall into the wrong hands. The best way to ensure your data is inaccessible is to destroy the hard drive. We use Bustadrive to get rid of our clients’ old drives. The mechanism punches a hole through the drive to render it useless, destroying all the data in the process.

If you would like more information on any of the topics listed above, or IT consultancy on how you can implement changes into your organisation, please get in touch!