Computers, Data security

Important Computer Maintenance Tasks You Probably Aren't Doing

computer-maintenance-tipsFrom the client management to production to social media, you probably have to use a computer to keep your business up and running. And yet, we often treat these machines as if they are infallible. They aren’t. But with proper maintenance, you can avoid most problems. Whether your business is just you and your laptop, or you have a whole team of employees using company machines, don't skip the maintenance tasks that might save your business one day.

Back It Up

Creating backups of your business computers is one the most important maintenance tasks you can perform. It's also what most people forget to do. Skip this and if your computer goes haywire, you'll have to reset the entire machine, often losing programs, documents, and other data in the progress.

Almost worst than not backing up your computer is backing it up to the actual computer in question. If your machine is inaccessible, you couldn't use the backup file to bring it back. . . because it's on your inaccessible computer. Don't go through the trouble of regularly backing up your computer only to store those backups some place you can't access them. Instead, store them on a separate hard drive that you can attach when you need it.

Protect Your Password

A password protected computer is more secure than one that you can immediately start using without logging in. From the well intentioned to the nefarious, a smart password can make sure that you're the only one using your machine. And truthfully, it's not about securing the machine. If someone stole your computer and reinstalled the programs, the passwords don't matter. It's about keeping the information stored on the computer safe. If thieves reset your machine, they'll also lose all of the sensitive information stored in the programs on it.

As for actual passwords, you should require your employees to use a combination of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Also require them to change their passwords regularly. If you're not sure you can trust them to do it on their own, you can assign new secure passwords to them every 90 days or so, depending on the nature of your business.

Take Your Vaccinations

Just as childhood vaccinations prevent serious illnesses like polio and whooping cough, security programs prevent viruses and malware from infecting your computers. Regardless of how safe you think your system is, you likely connect to the Internet regularly, exposing the machine to a number of bad elements.

Most operating systems come with a basic firewall or antivirus system. For example, Windows users have Windows Defender. But you can take it up a notch and buy additional security. Norton makes a series of heavy duty security programs designed to keep your systems clean. Whichever you choose to use, be sure to set up automatic scans of your systems.

None of this does you any good if you aren't downloading and installing your system updates. Depending on your system, your updates can come frequently or rarely. But if you don't update, you miss out on security measures that fight against the ever evolving lists of viruses, making your machine vulnerable to all sorts of attacks. If you can't remember to install your updates or you can't trust your employees to do so, set your operating system to update automatically.

Clean More Than The Hard Drive

Most of the computer maintenance tips focus on what's inside the computer. But don't forget the outside, too! Studies have shown that computer keyboards have five times as much bacteria as a toilet seat. That's no surprise, considering how often we place our dirty hands on the keys. Many workers also eat at their computers. And then there's the normal dust that occurs on electronics.


Clean your computer keyboards regularly. Use air cleaner to clear debris from under the keys. There are also several brands of electronic wipes on the market that can help you wipe keys and the screen. If all else fails, use clean cloth dipped in alcohol to fresh up the machine.

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