Computers form an integral part of business and everyday life, making secure computing very important. Keeping them running is crucial to efficiency and productivity. Although it can be very beneficial to hire an IT consultant, a few simple practices may save you time and money in the long run. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make sure that your computer is well maintained plus secure.
Automatically Update Windows
If you’re holding out on updating Windows because you’re afraid that things may break, you may be actually doing more harm than good. As users find bugs and errors, developers work hard to create fixes that are sent via Windows Update. Some errors may make a computer slower or less efficient, and others may open your computer up to hackers and viruses. To make the update process as painless as possible, you can setup the updates to download while you’re asleep and install automatically when you’re not using the computer.
Backup Everything Important
Nobody can predict catastrophic hard drive failure, power outages, or lost data. That’s why it’s important to regularly backup your precious files and folders. Services such as Google Drive and Dropbox make cloud storage affordable, even for large collections of multimedia. You can have backups synced on servers remotely and put certain files on writable DVDs in case of emergency. Make sure that your settings are backed up in Windows Backup too, in case your computer is ever compromised or needs to be restored.
Update Your Software
Just like Windows needs to be periodically updated for security and efficiency, your software applications need to stay up to date too! This is especially important for applications that access the Internet or open files that you didn’t create. Ensure that your browser, PDF reader and any applications that you commonly use are in their latest edition.
Check Your Settings
Check your privacy and security settings for each application you use, starting with your web browser. Make sure that intrusive popups are disabled, including ensuring that cookies, cache and temporary Internet files are cleared regularly. For your email, social media and web app accounts, ensure that you are not kept logged in for too long. Otherwise, if your account is ever hacked, the hacker will have access for a prolonged period of time, maybe without you even noticing.
Update Your Passwords
How many of us use the same password on multiple sites for the sake of convenience? This opens us up to a domino effect if one of our accounts becomes compromised, but there’s a better way. You can take a strong core password and alter it for each site that you need. For example, if your password is “@FLuFFy12”, you can make your Gmail password “@FLuFFy12Gmail”. It would be impossible to find that password in a dictionary and it would be exceedingly hard for a hacker to brute force it.
Scan Your Computer
Download a trusted virus scanner such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Scanner or work with an IT professional to do a thorough check of your file system for dangerous files. Viruses can disguise themselves as regular and benign files, they can even change themselves to avoid detection. You’ll want to make sure that the antivirus software you’re using is up to date with the latest information and detection methods.
Hopefully, these suggestions will keep your computer safe, secure and help you stay productive. Remember that you can also learn about information security through in-person training or online courses and it never hurts to hire an expert. The new year is a great time to work with an IT professional to make sure that your business will continue to run smoothly in 2017!