What are your New Year’s resolutions? Improve your work-life balance? Worry less? Relax more? Good plan. So you want to make sure you’re not spending the year worrying about your IT. You can achieve that peace of mind by making sure you’re observing the three golden rules of IT: back up, update and secure. Make this your New Year’s resolution and it’ll be good for your business and good for you.
Beef up your backups
There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a vital piece of work or cherished photos and finding they’re gone forever because you haven’t backed them up. A major data loss can cost a business dear and, in severe cases, even bring it down. We cannot overstress the importance of backing up your data but we often come across cases where a business thinks it’s backing up but isn’t.
The danger is an over-reliance on an inadequate backup solution. Just being plugged into a remote hard-drive may not be enough to ensure all your files are being saved as they should be. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is my backup automated? If not, and you’re relying on regular manual back-ups, you’re leaving yourself exposed to human error. So make sure your backup process is automated and configured appropriately to the quantity and frequency of updates your business needs.
Is there an off-site backup? The cloud has made it very easy to backup your data to a remote server, accessible from anywhere, yet there are still a lot of businesses relying on one on-site drive. This means they’re vulnerable to the threat of fire or theft. So if you haven’t yet started backing up off-site, make it your resolution to do so. We can advise on the best solutions and manage the process for you.
Is it checked regularly? One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to backups is assuming everything is working fine. Backup disks can fill up, connections can break down… Make it a part of your regular routine to check your backup system is working and doing what it should.
Is it sufficient for your needs? If your business uses a highly configured computer, a server or rare software, a simple backup to a remote hard drive will not be enough. You need a system image backup, so that your whole system can be restored in the event of a major loss. So make sure your backup solution is sufficient to cover you for all eventualities.
Making sure your backups are properly configured could save your business a lot of downtime, so it’s a precaution well worth investing in. We can advise you on the appropriate level of backup you need and manage it for you, so you never have to worry that you’re not covered.
Keep up with the updates
Why do software manufacturers keep asking you to install updates? It’s not to drive you crazy, it’s to improve the functionality and security of the software.
So make it a habit to install all the recommended updates as they crop up. Failure to do so will tend to leave your computer running slowly at best and could make it vulnerable to attack.
As well as updating Windows, pay attention to other important programs like Java, Flash and Adobe. Ransomware attacks can get into your system through non-Windows software too, so mitigate the risk by keeping it all up to date.
We provide automatic policing of software updates as part of our IT support service. By installing an agent on your computer, we can manage all your updates externally and react quickly if an update is missed.
Shore up your security
Cyber crime is on the rise. It’s been estimated that the cost of data breaches throughout the world will reach a staggering £1.5trillion by the end of this year. Avoid being part of that statistic by installing adequate defences across your IT systems and doing your housekeeping to make sure you’re not allowing any chinks to open up in your armour.
It’s not just viruses that pose a threat. Sometimes malware can infiltrate your system from dubious websites, slowing everything down and trying to trick you into paying for a remedy. You want a single security application running on all your machines to secure against any form of attack.
Choose your antivirus carefully: First make sure you have a proven, good quality antivirus product, which has a high threat detection capability. There are free antiviruses out there but they’re not as secure. We use a product called Bitdefender (and also ESET), which has excellent threat detection.
Update regularly: As mentioned above, keeping all your software up to date will mitigate the risk of virus attack. The same applies to your antivirus software.
Check every device is protected: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so make sure there are no weak links in your system by checking your security application is installed on every computer.
Check your subscription: Make sure your antivirus subscription has not lapsed. Those email reminders are all too easy to ignore when you’re flat out, so double check that your application is active and set yourself a reminder of the renewal date in your calendar.
By paying attention to these three key bits of IT housekeeping, you will go a long way to ensuring the integrity and efficiency of your systems. A clean-up and system review is highly recommended too, to make sure you’re making the most of new applications that can really help your business to run smoothly, such as web-based invoicing, file sharing and automation.
We can advise you on the latest IT solutions for making your life easier and your business more profitable. We can also take care of all the essential maintenance and management to make sure your systems are running efficiently and give you the peace of mind that your backups, updates and security are not going to let you down.
In terms of both time and cost, starting 2018 with a resolution to get on top of your IT housekeeping will bear fruit throughout the year.