It’s Time for a Spring Clean

It’s Time for a Spring Clean – IT Systems

The sun is shining, the daffodils are blooming – it’s safe to say that spring has sprung. Aside from nature’s wonders at this time of year there is definitely something in the air. It’s spring-cleaning time! You may have your home spring cleaning routine, but do you have a PC cleaning routine? Throughout this blog we’re going to break down five key things which you can do each year (at the very minimum) to keep your IT systems working productively and securely. Keep on reading to find out more.

What is Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1 😀

Did you know, a quarter of UK organisations have reported a breach to the ICO within their own company? Moreover, in 2019, 42% of companies were affected by a breach due to a bad password.

A simple way of mitigating the possibilities of a breach is to protect your files and systems with passwords and encryption. When was the last time you switched up your passwords?

Here are some tips on how to set up your passwords to protect your files:

  1. Set up a password with three random words: the longer and more complex your password, the harder it is for hackers to break.
  2. Install a password manager such as KeePass: a password manager that stores your login information for the websites/apps you use and helps you log into them automatically. It is far more robust than browser-based password managers (those based within Chrome or Firefox). They encrypt your password database with a master password, keeping the whole database secure.
  3. Add two-factor authentication to apps and software where possible: this adds a second layer of protection in addition to your password making it doubly hard for hacker to get into your accounts.

Passwords are your first line of defence; taking some of the above steps will give you the extra protection you need.

It’s time for an update…

We’ve all been there. Getting the dreaded “Windows needs an update” notifications the system prepares us for a restart. But while they might seem like an inconvenience, software updates are key for keeping your systems secure.

Do you cope with your system running sluggishly every day? One of the reasons for this could be that your software needs updating. But why is this?

Software updates are important because they often include critical patches to security holes. In addition to this software update can also include new features and better capabilities for different devices and applications. For instance, do you pair your accounting software with your logistics software to keep track of your orders and stocks levels?

If one of those pieces of software needed updating to give the other better functionality, it would make sense to do it straight away. This could make your systems more stable, saving you great amounts of time and effort in the long run.

You Got Mail

Emails have become one of the greatest methods of communicating to employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders in business. However, they are one of the major sources of productivity issues in business teams, due to their distracting nature.

Emails can weigh heavily on our mind and can lead to an extremely inefficient working routine. It’s time to clear out the inbox! Below are some steps for doing this effectively, to give yourself a clean slate:

  1. Sweep your inbox for clutter: it’s near impossible to organise an overwhelmed inbox without deleting things en masse. You could do this by organising by date, or by email type. For example, you could firstly delete any newsletter style email, then organise emails by department they relate to (i.e. purchasing, marketing and HR).
  2. Compartmentalise: while sweeping takes care of emails already in your inbox, it doesn’t account for incoming emails. Set up automatic ‘rules’ which move types of email into a particular folder, to avoid re-cluttering the inbox once it’s clear.
  3. Delete: Now that your inbox should only have in it what’s actionable it’s time to delete things which simply aren’t important. Is it an email a blanket response which doesn’t require a follow up? Is it something you don’t need to action urgently but can come back to later? Set up a folder to put these emails into called ‘TBA’.
  4. Create a system you can follow: Now that you have a clear and organised inbox, it’s time to create a filing system which you can follow moving forward to keep things under control.

Bonus Tip: Not only will clearing your inbox benefit your productivity, but can lower your carbon emissions too

Final bit of tidying

So, we’ve talked passwords, we’ve updated software and we’ve organised your emails, it’s now time for the sofa cushions of cleaning tasks. Your folder system. If you share filing systems with your team it’s easy for files to become cluttered or duplicated. Not only should you have a system in place for keeping files organised, but you should also be doing regular backups. 

Picture a situation where the folders of files you need to run your business were accidentally deleted and you didn’t have any form of backup.

What would you do if your calendar stopped syncing properly and your appointments for the week were no longer visible?

Having a backup in place for this data, which is encrypted, regularly updated, reported on, and tested  is a way of avoiding these issues.

A backup creates copies of your data which should be stored in multiple places; so that in case of emergencies you can restore the data needed to run your business effectively. For this to work effectively, consider creating a backup strategy which includes an encrypted copy of your backup on another machine, a cloud-based copy, and a copy on an external device. Remember, it’s just as important to be able to restore the backup as it is to have a backup in the first place. – so, test it regularly!

Throughout this blog we’ve taken you through the spring clean routine of your IT systems, giving you a few simple things to add to your routine in order to keep your business running productively without any wasted time. For more information on how to secure and manage your own IT systems effectively, contact us today for a free IT audit. Otherwise, check out our other blogs for more tips.

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