Yes, it’s that time again! The calendar is turning to a new year and our team here at Spectra Networks always likes to take some time out of our busy schedule (and holiday prep) to think about what our resolutions for the next year will be. 2022 promises to be an exciting year for technology with the dawn of new programs, increased security applications, and innovation at an all time high. We love the start of a new year. It is ‘tabula rasa’, a clean slate, if you will. It means we all start fresh and can make new promises to ourselves in the hope of being better at some goal we set in our heads. For some that means eating better, exercising more, or saving money in the new year.As usual, we are always obsessing about technology, compliance, and the most up-to-date security possible. As such we like to consider how we should all make some resolutions about our daily work habits revolving around that technology. If you’re interested in this, today’s blog is right up your alley!
Resolution #1 Conduct A Digital Clean Up
We aren’t talking about throwing all your files in the trash bin and hitting the delete button. We’re talking about basic computer maintenance to start your 2022 off right. No one wants to start their computer every morning and face endless lists of files, emails, and apps that should be organized. Take a few minutes (for some of you an hour or more - you know who you are!) to do some digital cleaning tasks. These tasks might include:
Cleaning out old emails and sorting them into folders that are easy to access in a pinch.
Deleting the bookmarks, apps, and files that you no longer use.
Clean up and sort the files that have been sitting on your desktop.
These simple tasks can not only make you feel like you are more organized and efficient, but you will also be freeing up valuable storage space on your computer.
Resolution #2 Physically Clean Up Your Workspace
How many times have you eaten at your desk? Between lunch and the endless snacks that continue throughout the afternoon, your workspace, including your keyboard probably needs some serious TLC. Take a few minutes to use compressed air or a proper device to wipe clean all the dust and grime that has built up over the last year. If you’re feeling crazy, maybe clean around your monitor (think finger smudges) and other areas of your workspace. Not to gross you out, but studies show that there is more bacteria around your keyboard and desk than in a typical bathroom!
Resolution #3 Stop Running So Many Programs At Once
If you’re guilty of this one, you’re not alone. Most people who like to multitask often have multiple tabs and programs running at once. It’s a really hard habit to break. Unfortunately, lots of software running at one time can really slow a computer down and sometimes cause it to freeze. Try to reach a happy medium between your desire to multitask and the speed of your computer by going through your desktop every hour or so and close the things you are not using. It will still be there when you need it next.
Resolution #4 Update Your Software (Finally!)
So… you’ve been ignoring those software updates that pop up every once and a while? Again, you are not alone in this habit. We suggest setting an alarm to remind yourself of updates that you couldn’t get to right away when they initially popped up. Believe us, we know those reminders seem to pop up at the most inopportune time, but put it on your calendar to remind yourself. You’ll thank us later. Without those software updates your computer may be missing the most recent security update or features to programs that could actually make your work life so much better.
Resolution #5 Host A Refresher Security Course for Employees
We have discussed in many of our blogs about how human error is a huge cause of computer issues including vulnerabilities surrounding your organizations IT security. This new year, host an employee training seminar to remind everyone what red flags to look for in emails, attachments, and unsecure websites that could help protect your devices and network. Include in your employee training a quick refresher on privacy laws especially if your business is bound to HIPAA laws and the compliance that is attached to those.
Resolution #6 Solidify Your Backup Plan
There’s nothing like a new year to review your backup plans. Your IT department is most likely on top of this and probably has regular reviews of the plan to make sure if there is an unexpected event, you will be prepared. Here at Spectra Networks, we subscribe to the 3-1-2 backup rule and encourage others to do the same. This rule is a proven way to ensure the integrity of your data should a disaster occur. At all times we keep three backup copies including one on-site to physical media and two cloud copies, one to our secure datacenter and another to our third-party cloud storage. For example, in our backup strategy, there is a local backup copy onsite for quick local recovery, the backup is replicated to our datacenter, then we replicate our copy to a long term storage repository such as object storage.
Passwords are your number one defense against hackers. How strong are yours? How often are they changed? Are they easy to guess? Do you use them across several logins? If you think your passwords are strong enough… think twice. Password managers are your best bet against having your passwords easily figured out by a cyber criminal. Using a password manager is strongly encouraged by our team. Don’t know what it is? Let us explain briefly.A password manager is a software application designed to store and manage online credentials. It also generates passwords that are strong and unique. Usually, these passwords are stored in an encrypted database and locked behind a master password. The user can then access the many logins by using the master password to unlock all usernames and passwords.
Resolution #8 Take More Breaks
Shhhhhhh … don’t tell your manager we told you to do this but believe it or not it may help you be more efficient, less physically achy at the end of the day, and (dare we say) happier. Human eyes are not really meant to be staring at the blue light from the screen for 8 hours a day. Neither are our bodies meant to be sedentary all day. Getting up for brief breaks to stretch and move can actually help your efficiency and creativity for the rest of the day.
Resolution #9 Practice A Disaster Recovery Drill
If we have learned anything in the last two years of the pandemic, it’s that you never can tell when a disaster will strike. The same can be said for technology disasters caused by Mother Nature, power outages, software glitches, or malicious hackers. Is your disaster plan tested? When was the last time you ran a drill to see if you could work through the kinks of your backup plan or how to get back to work should a disaster occur? The strength of your organization's continuity plan in the face of disaster could mean the difference between getting back to work in a reasonable amount of time and going belly up.
Resolution #10 Restart Your Computer
Seriously so simple, but when was the last time you actually restarted it? Not only does shutting down and restarting (preferably the next work day) give your computer a chance to recharge, but it’s also good for the environment and your utility bills. Sure, shutting down and rebooting is a hassle but think of it as a much needed break. Often hardware updates, security patches, and critical updates often wait for a reboot before they install. Ideally, you should be restarting at minimum once a week. Even if you’re not really a New Year’s Resolution person, we hope you have found that you want to do at least a few of these 10 suggestions we have laid out for you today.May 2022 be a happy and healthy year for you and your family.