What to Add to Your IT Maintenance Checklist for the New Year

What to Add to Your IT Maintenance Checklist for the New Year

A poorly maintained IT infrastructure will stifle productivity and reduce efficiency, but that’s not all. If you’re not paying close attention to the health of your network and all connected devices, you’ll also end up leaving your business exposed to cyberattacks. That’s why regular auditing and maintenance are essential elements of any IT strategy. If you’re ready to start 2018 on the right track, here are some things to think about:

#1. Get Rid of Applications You Don’t Use

Less hardware and software means less stuff to look after, and there’s no reason to have your systems bogged down by unnecessary extras. Nonetheless, computers tend to collect a lot of junk software and unneeded files over the years. As such, audit your application portfolio and get rid of any unnecessary apps or files to keep your machines running smoothly.

If you haven’t done so already, now is also a good time to start thinking about cloud computing. By migrating some of your everyday business applications to the cloud, such as accounting, document editing and customer relationship management, you will be able to greatly reduce your dependence on in-house resources.

#2. Upgrade or Reinstall Your Operating System

With extended support for Windows 7 ending in just a couple more years, now is the time to start thinking about upgrading to Windows 10. Windows 10 is inherently more secure due to the fact that all security-related updates are installed automatically.

Upgrading your operating systems is also a great way to get rid of any junk files and programs you no longer use, thereby improving performance and reducing the amount of wasted disk space.

#3. Clean Your Hardware

Maintaining your IT infrastructure isn’t just about upgrading and replacing hardware and software. It’s also about keeping everything clean. Computers and other devices collect a great deal of dust, which can clog up cooling fans and even increase the risk of a short circuit damaging your hardware. Dirty computers also run hotter and louder, thereby reducing their efficiency and costing more to run.

You can clean the insides of your computers using cans of compressed air. By doing so once every couple of months, you should be able to keep the dust under control.

#4. Carry Out a Security and Network Audit

You should get into the habit of thoroughly auditing your network at least twice per year, as well as every time you expand the network or make any other significant changes. Regular network audits will help you keep track of all your devices while also helping to expose any potentially vulnerable endpoints.

When auditing your network, you’ll want to start by creating a complete catalog of all connected hardware, operating systems, firmware and installed applications. At the same time, you’ll need to define your information-handling processes and user access rights to every company resource within and beyond the walls of your office.

#5. Review User Accounts and Access Rights

Regularly reviewing user accounts and access rights is critical for the safety of your data, and it’s something you should do every time you carry out a security audit. This process involves determining who has access to which company data, which devices they use, and how they access your resources.

At the very least, you’ll want to enforce multi-factor authentication for any systems and applications that handle sensitive data, particularly on smartphones and other portable devices. Now is also a good time to have everyone on your team change their passwords, which is something your security policy should enforce anyway.

With their increasing reliance on IT, businesses have a monumental task ahead of them when it comes to keeping everything secure and running optimally. However, with WhiteOwl as your technology partner, you’ll be able to focus on your business rather than worry about your technology. Connect with us today to find out how we can help your business grow.