Running a business is a time consuming and sometimes difficult task, even at the best of times. Keeping your technology up to date might seem like an arduous or complicated task, but there are some updates you can do without too much trouble, that will help out in the long run.
Businesses rely on technology in every way, even those businesses that believe themselves to be less tech-heavy. Whether you are a small business sending and receiving emails or a large global business holding video-conferences and webinars, you need to stay connected. The list is endless but one thing is for sure, your technology has to be updated.
Update your operating system
No matter what size your business, from self-employed or start-up to a multi-national corporation, you need to have the right operating system to keep your business running.
If you've still got Windows 7, Vista or XP, you're at risk. Even if they're running fine right now, Windows ends support a certain amount of time after the release of more up to date systems. Windows Vista and XP are no longer supported, while Windows 7 no longer has mainstream support, and extended support ends in January 2020.
The best thing to do is to update your operating system before it is too late because failure to do so can put your files, records and all other data that you store at risk.
If you're using Mac software, be aware that there can be some compatibility issues when upgrading to a new version - for example, Catalina (released a couple of days ago) no longer supports 32 bit applications, so make sure it's suitable for what you need before hitting the update button. But, at a minimum, you should be on Mojave (released July 2019) rather than an earlier version.
Update your computer software regularly
Updating your computer software regularly helps your system to run smoother, behave in a stable way and keep your data safe. Regular weekly or monthly updates will give your system the best chance of running at its peak and best of all, it only takes a couple of clicks, or you can let your system install them automatically.
No matter what software your business uses, you need to make sure it is up-to-date. Would you want your software to fail during an important process such as placing an order or making a payment? What about your anti-virus software or firewall software that protects your data, customer data and financial records? Every piece of software you run is critical to the operation of your business so make sure that it is updated at every opportunity.
Updates don't just streamline and remove bugs from your software - they're also used to patch any security holes that have been discovered since the last update. Hackers and constantly trying new methods to get into different systems, and when a breach, or potential breach, occurs, software providers release an update to fix whatever area the hackers tried to exploit. It doesn't mean the software was inherently insecure in the first place, it just means that criminals are extremely determined. Without keeping your software up to date, you open up your systems to risk of attack.
Enable 2 factor authentication
This is one of the quickest methods to improve your cyber security. 2FA, or two-factor authentication (sometimes also known as multi-factor authentication) makes sure the person logging into your systems is the person they say they are, preventing unauthorised access and protecting your data and systems.
There are various methods of 2FA - from simply clicking a button on specific software so that it texts you a code when you log in, to apps, to system-wide protection.
Cyber security is a hot topic, with businesses losing £2.3million per minute in 2018 to cyber criminals. 2FA is pretty much non-optional for businesses these days. If you need help getting this set up and securing your business, let us know.
Upgrade your hardware
When we say hardware, we mean all the devices that your software programs are running on. This is about making sure that your PC, tablet or smartphone are all ready to keep your business moving. An old PC could crash and fail at any time and you could lose your information while your tablet may be an older model that is no longer compatible with an important app that you use.
In addition to the potential compatibility issues you face with outdated hardware, there are also severe inefficiencies to contend with. How often have you got annoyed that your phone or laptop battery is dying too quickly? The older your tech, the faster the batteries will run out. If someone's at a desk all day, that might not be the biggest problem, but if you've got people in meetings or out and about throughout the day, having a battery that can't be relied on can be a real source of frustration.
Your hardware should support your staff in fulfilling their jobs. Don't wait until something completely breaks down to decide it needs to be upgraded - keep an eye on how old your different items are and have a plan to update them. Watch for staff who have to work around hardware issues, or who have tactics to mitigate the 'quirks' in what they're working with.
Consider a support contract
While this isn't so much a quick update you can do by yourself, if all of these things still seem like too much to deal with, or you simply don't have enough hours in the day, it might be time to think about getting some IT Support.
Whether you bring someone in-house or outsource to an expert provider, you'll free up your attention and have everything updated and secured. So all of these updates would be handled without you having to worry about them, for starters. Plus you know that if something does break, you've got someone a phone call away to help.
Check out our post on finding the right IT support company for you if you want to make sure you get exactly what you need.