‘Tis the season for wrapping up end-of-year business matters, and there’s no better time to start thinking about 2018 and your technology. Tech issues have a way of snowballing (to stick with the wintery metaphor).
Personally, I like to make some time at the end of the year to do my annual tech tune-up. These are tasks that are often put on the back burner. So, here are a few tech tips before you get started again for next year.
Tech Tip 1: Cleanup Everything
Go through old documents and make sure they are properly filed on your computer or cloud storage. Clearing out the old pictures, videos and music from your mobile devices is part of the process. They’re certainly very tedious tasks, but very rewarding once accomplished.
This is when I think I can regain control of my email. There is nothing more daunting than knowing I have 10,000 emails sitting in my inbox. Make time to manage your email folders, bulk file some of these emails, delete most, and try using rules to help you prioritize your incoming email for next year.
Tech Tip 2: Review Your Backup and Disaster Recovery
The end of the year is a good time to test your current backup strategies. For example, it may be necessary to adjust or come up with a process that meets new compliances. Backups are the cornerstone of all your disaster recovery plans.
The biggest questions around backups tend to focus on the time to recovery and archiving data policies. Do you have accounts that depend on you to work all the time? How long do you need to maintain these records? Updated backup plans will help your company to recover from a cyber compromise, major equipment failure, water damage or catastrophic mistake made by one of your staff members.
I can’t emphasize enough the necessity of having plans that include keeping your data securely stored many miles outside your region. Consider cloud solutions that automatically safeguard your data in offsite secure locations.
Tech Tip 3: Update Your Software and Devices
Your office and network have more devices than you may realize. Create an inventory of those devices and run all necessary updates. There are plenty of devices you don’t regularly update that should be part of
this process. Routers, wireless access points, security cameras, printers and copiers are often overlooked, but they should get updates along with all your regular computing devices. You should update your applications, operating systems, anti-virus software, iPhones and tablets on a regular basis, not only for new features but more importantly, for timely security updates.
Tech Tip 4: Update Your Passwords
This year shed more light on the cybersecurity issues facing many organizations. Following good password management practices is critical. If it has been a while, now is the best time to change and update your passwords. The need to use passwords with long complex characters and that are unique to each site can’t be overstated. A good New Year’s resolution would be to start using a password manager to help you keep up with the task, such as LastPass or 1Password.
Tech Tip 5: Review Client and Employee Data Safeguards
An annual review of all company and client data is important for obvious reasons but may have compliance implications as well. Putting safeguards in place can help to prevent fraud and identity theft, as well as enhance customer confidence and trust.
Safeguard reviews should start with an observance of HIPAA, IRS guidelines or other industry standards that may be necessary for your business. You will want to preserve the confidentiality and privacy of all data by restricting access and disclosure. This may not be a costly effort, but one that takes awareness and often simple procedures. Safeguarding Taxpayer Data from the IRS offers many ideas on how to approach the topic, even if you are not an accounting firm. Some of these steps are non-technical too. Where are the paper files kept? Who has access?
Have a Happy Holidays!
If you are looking for ways to meet these ever-increasing compliance requirements and keep your data secure, contact us today.