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IT Resolutions: Technology Tips for 2017

Whether you embrace the tradition of making resolutions, or avoid the hordes rushing to sign up at the gym, the beginning of a year is a great time to take stock. But it isn’t just our personal goals that sometimes benefit from a rethink. Now is a great time to accelerate your business results with these new year technology tips.

Increase security focus

Hacking attacks against companies are on the rise, and in today’s environment businesses of all sizes are just as much at risk.  No organisation can afford to be complacent – data and identity theft, targeted attacks, and reputation damage are among your considerations. Because of the rapid rate of new threats, what worked last year may not be right now.

The best way to start is to get an independent IT security audit.  The right auditor will help you to ensure your team is well educated about the more sophisticated breed of scams, and to put policies and procedures in place. Reputation loss is costly, but it can be avoided.

Backup everything

Security isn’t the only thing to review. In just about every business, there is an element of risk where some data that is not backed up, or at least, not with sufficient frequency. Over time, changes can leave you exposed to data loss, so it is good practice to revisit your processes – and test everything.

Check all emails, remote workers, applications, databases, even your website. Then assess whether your combination of offsite and offline backups are sufficient.

Manage your digital reputation

Your business brand is everywhere now.  It is worth taking a closer look at what people are posting on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Even negative posts can be an opportunity if handled right.

If you don’t already, consider giving your staff social media guidelines that will help them to be consistently on-brand. Encourage social media stars that are getting your name out there. And if you’re not as social media-savvy as you’d like, why not take some time to brush up your skills with a social media marketing course?

Upgrade to Windows 10

Out with the old and in with the new.  For the first time ever, businesses have a consistent and free upgrade path from Windows 10 and beyond. Speed, security and longer support path are among the reasons it is worth making the switch.

Become more productive

The average employee spends up to a quarter of their day dealing with emails. Some of the habits that will make you more efficient include clearing your inbox daily, turning off notifications, and avoiding using email as a to-do list

For more ideas about working efficiently, check our blog post  Email Tips to Out Smart your Inbox.

Use a password manager

Most of us have an absurd number of passwords to remember. From banking and shopping to social media and the kids’ school app, it can be hard to keep track. It can be tempting to make passwords simpler, and to reuse them, in order to get easy access to our accounts. The problem is, that makes it easier for hackers to access them too.

Use a password manager, like LastPass or KeePass, to store your passwords securely. This makes them available on any device you work from, without compromising your online safety.

Change your logins this year so that each service has a unique password – and make it complex. Use a combination of numbers, symbols and letters in both upper and lower case. And of course, avoid using obvious passwords like your dog’s name or your date of birth.

Protect your photos

Most people now back up work data, but many of us forget about our personal photos.  Chances are, your devices hold a wealth of memories. Whether it is your wedding photos, holiday snaps or your kids’ milestone moments, it is worth taking a few minutes to ensure the photos are preserved.

Backup a USB drive that is stored away from your home, or take advantage of an affordable cloud backup service like  crashplanpro.com.

Get fit with technology

Smartwatches and fitness bands are putting an increased focus on lifestyle.  If you made a new year’s resolution to lose weight, get into shape, or tackle that sporting competition you always wanted, a tracker can help you to keep tabs on your progress. If possible, find a buddy or a club to train with. Sharing results in your group can be a great motivator.

Measure customer satisfaction

With the number of easy to use and affordable cloud solution on the market, it has never been easier to run a survey or measure satisfaction with a system like NPS (net promoter score)

Simple free and affordable systems like surveymonkey.com will open a communication channel to your clients and allow you to fine tune your products, services and ultimately the whole business

Sleep

As great as all this technology is, you can have too much of a good thing. Remember to put away the devices sometimes. A technology-free walk with the dog, or a few hours relaxing with friends, can recharge your batteries. There is a good chance your fitness watch or band will help you to track sleep quality.  See how much difference it makes when you put the smartphone or iPad down well before bed time.

For more advice on getting the most from technology in 2017, contact the TechPath team.