Today marks the start of lent. A time of year when a lot of people promise to give up chocolate or alcohol for 40 days in an attempt to better themselves. The sad thing is, most of the time these promises don’t work, because quitting these addictive substances cold turkey is challenging. So this year, why not challenge yourself to shake those bad tech habits and set yourself up for a more productive and secure 2016.
For some reason a lot of people are still strongly against downloading software upgrades for their machines until they absolutely have to. I’m sorry, but this is something I just can’t get my head around. For a start, upgrades include crucial updates and patches to security (see our blog on why security patching is more than just a bandage) as well as new plugins and add ons that make your software work properly. Most programmes on your computer will maintain their safety, connectivity and usability through these patches, and the gaps left by not keeping them updated could make you vulnerable to cyber attack. So this lent, turn on auto update and make sure you are downloading updates as and when your system says you need them.
Despite how savvy we are when it comes to online security, downloading malware and viruses from phishing emails is still one of the most common causes for IT infection. Email scammers are getting smarter, and now phishing emails are spoofing known and trusted brands to try and trick us into opening their infected attachments. According to recent research, 58% of employees opened inappropriate email attachments and caused viruses to infect their business systems. So instead of just clicking on a link or opening an attachment, make sure that you check the destination of the URL first to avoid unwanted malware.
Computers have come a long way, but unfortunately they all have to die at some point. When they do, all the data and information you were storing on them goes with it, leaving you high and dry. This is why it’s essential that your data is backed up regularly, to ensure your information isn’t lost forever. Ideally you want at least 2 backups for your business – one in hard copy (for example external hard drives or a NAS), and one as a cloud backup. Ensuring you have multiple backups of your business critical data is the best thing you can do for your business, and once you have it set up you don’t even need to think about it, as cloud backups can be set to automatic, and so can data transfers to offsite hard drives.
I know several people who are guilty of this, especially those who run MAC systems. How many times do you or your staff walk out of the office at the end of the day and leave your computers on? But shutting down your computer is more than just saving electricity. It also allows your computer to finish installing and configuring updates and ensures they aren’t just sitting idle in the background. It also minimises the chance of memory leaks and stops applications like Word keeping dozens of temporary files open, which can fill up your memory and compromise your ability to save things properly.
It goes without saying that pretty much everyone browses the internet and checks their social media accounts at work (even just during their lunch break). For the most part this is not a problem, as long as your employees understand the safe use of social media. Employees should exercise the same caution in opening shared links on social media as they do clicking on links in emails. Viral videos sent around social media sites are frequently used as a way of luring unexpecting users into clicking on a link that delivers a virus or malware. Make educating everyone in your business about safe social media one of your promises for lent.
If you need help setting up some of the policies we’ve talked about, or want some advice on your tech habits, get in touch with All Your Computers for a free consultation today.