Running a home based or small business is no small feat. There are many things you have to keep up with. Accounting, marketing, employees, and customer satisfaction. When you toss technology in that mix, it can create the perfect storm. Technology is one of those great mysteries of the universe that everyone claims to know ... but no one can quite grasp. Are you looking to make your technology work for you rather than against you in your business? Well, you need to trust your friendly tech expert (that would be me) and follow these tips to help eliminate some of the technology headaches you experience in your business.
1. Backup. Backup. and Backup some more. Technology is going to fail at some point and you need to have a method to save your precious business data. Imagine your state of mind if you were to suddenly lose your records for your customers, accounting, appointments, and emails? You'd probably want to go hang yourself in the basement right? Well, if you backup your information, you'd have one less thing to worry about. When it comes to backup, you need to follow these rules:
A. Your backup should run A U T Omatic. Just like Prince famously sang in the song, your backup should be automatic. If you're relying on yourself or your office manager to perform backups, you've already failed. Windows/Macintosh/smartphone or tablets, there's a way to automatically backup your devices. Windows users can use Windows File History which will backup your information to an external hard drive automatically. Macintosh users can use Time Machine which will automatically back your information to an external hard drive. Apple devices can automatically be backed up to iCloud. Android devices can automatically be backed up to Google Drive.
B. Take a two prong approach to backups. You need to backup to multiple locations. Having a local backup is good, but having a backup in the cloud is better. Local backups come in handy if you need to retrieve a file or two. Cloud backup works when you have a complete loss like if a tornado ran off with your home or business or if a virus or ransomware gets in your devices and ruins all of your files. Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) is my favorite solution for cloud backup. It's automatic and it keeps multiple copies of your files. Don't rely on cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. These cloud storage services are only designed for you to retrieve files from anywhere in the world, not work as a backup.
2. Get Serious About Cyber Security. Home Based and Small Businesses are a major target for cybercriminals. Why? Well many of you are busy running your businesses and don't have the time to keep up with the last trends and methods that criminals are attacking your businesses. You always hear about the large data breaches, but there are many small businesses that are attacked daily. What can you do? Well, for your Windows and Macintosh computers, make sure your anti-virus software is enabled. Both Windows and Macintosh computers have anti-virus software built in. Windows users have Windows Defender. Macintosh Users have Xprotect. Use these products only and avoid programs like Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, and ESET, which will only slow your computers down. For your smartphone or tablets, no need to load protection on these devices, just watch what you download from the app store. Stick with reputable apps. Also, stay aware of file attachments. If you didn't expect it, don't download it.
3. Protect Yourself from the Many Risks of Having a Mobile Office. If you have a mobile office, there are a lot of risks that you need to worry about such as stolen devices and bogus public wifi. Password and encrypt your mobile devices. Encryption offers excellent protection from data theft because it scrambles your information which is only accessible with a key. Think of that 5,000 piece puzzle that you have to help assemble during the holidays. That's data encryption. Encrypting your devices is easy. In Windows, you just need to enable 'Bit Defender' on your mobile device. On your Macintosh, it's enabling 'File Vault'. For those of you who run your business from your smartphone or tablet, you just need to enable the password feature on your smart device. This will encrypt your mobile device, keeping your information safe if you lose your device. When working remotely, use a wifi hot spot to work as opposed to connecting to that free wifi at your local coffee shop. Free is good, but not at the risk of your business data. When you're connected to that hotspot, it's a secure connection between your device and your hotspot. No one can snoop on it.
4. Get the Best Internet Option. No matter the size of your business, you need fast Internet. Most of your applications are probably in the cloud. Also, are there multiple people in your home office or office accessing information off the web? Do your homework before you settle on an Internet provider. You need to find out what your download and upload speeds are. The faster the better. For business use, you need to at least have a download speed of 50Mbps (megabits per second) and an upload speed of 20Mbps. Need to check out your current speed to make sure your Internet provider is giving your the speed you need? Visit SpeedTest (www.speedtest.net) and check out your speeds. Your modem and router control how the wired and wireless connections work in your business. You can expect to switch these out every 5 years or less to make sure your internet is working well. To make sure you get good service and support from your provider, always use their equipment rather than bringing in your stuff.
5. Ask for Help. Technology is so complicated and is changing constantly. There is no way that you can know every aspect or keep up with what's going on. If at anytime you get in over your head with technology, reach out for help. When looking for people to help you with tech, you only want to reach out to folks that have experience working with businesses. Helping someone with home tech issues vs business tech issues is like night and day. With home tech, the main issues are usually associated with figuring out why technology won't power on or why the wireless isn't working. In a business, there are so many issues that need to be addressed such as making devices work together, making sure your data is shared between devices, cyber security and a host of other issues.
Running a small or home based business can be stressful and rewarding at the same time. Take a moment to follow these tips to reduce some of the stress your deal with in your business so you can focus on other things as dominating your competition and running a successful business!
Want to ask me a tech question? Click here and send it in! If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you.
If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.integralcomputerconsutants.com or phone at 888.256.0829.