How to keep your business tech usage squeaky clean


Date: 28 September 2015

Cleaning a computer{{}}Technology hygiene isn't just about keeping your computers free from dust and dirt. That cleanliness should extend to your files and software too - so you know where to find everything and can work efficiently.

Here are four ways to keep your business technology squeaky clean.

1. Don't wait long to install updates

'An update is available for your computer.' We're all guilty of ignoring this message - sometimes for hours, days or even weeks. After all, how important can a little update really be?

Well, very important, as it turns out.

Although software is rigorously tested before its release, real-world usage can show up previously undetected bugs and security issues. Software updates are released to sort out these problems.

If a hacker manages to steal your data, or you lose your work in a software crash, then you'll be wishing you'd updated your software sooner.

Of course, breaking off mid-flow can disrupt your work, especially when you don't know whether an update will take minutes or hours to install. But despite this, it's wise to run updates over lunch or at the end of the day.

2. Use two-factor authentication for everything

Two-factor authentication requires you to do two things in order to sign in to your online accounts. Generally, you have to enter a username and password (as usual), and then enter a one-time code that's sent to your mobile phone via text message.

Two-factor authentication makes your online accounts more secure, because it combines something you know (your password) with something you have (your phone).

If a hacker somehow manages to steal or guess your password, they still won't be able to sign in to your account.

An increasing number of online services offer two-factor authentication, and it's a good idea to use it wherever possible. In particular, make sure you switch it on for any cloud services that store sensitive company data.

3. Don't save files to your desktop

When you don't quite know where to put a file, where do you save it? Your desktop, of course. We all do it. It's the easiest option, but it's also a big mistake.

Scattering files across your desktop can hit the overall speed of your computer, because your computer may partially load them in the background. Over time, it also creates confusion, because it's hard to find what you're looking for.

The best alternative is to get more disciplined about where you store files. Create a good folder system, and stick to it. You can still put shortcuts to these files on your desktop, if you really need instant access to them.

4. Stop eating at your desk

One in three employees typically eats lunch at their desks. If you're one of them, this can hit your personal wellbeing, because, well, a break in front of your email is no break at all.

However, taking lunch 'al-desko' is no picnic for your computer, either. Crumbs get everywhere (just try turning your keyboard upside down). And liquid conducts electricity, so any spillages can result in disaster.

So, look out. You don't want to see work pile up while your computer gets fixed following a lunchtime accident.

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