5 tech steps to get ready for back to work (or school) in 2017
With the excesses of summer coming to an end, here are five steps to get tech-ready when you return to work (or school) from the holiday break.
The end of the summer holidays allows us all to restart our work or school life with a clean slate. However, the lead up to our first day back can be a bit daunting, as we prepare for what is to come. Whilst we might still be scrambling to get new outfits (or uniforms), and to ensure that we have the required books, and other basic supplies, it is also an opportune time to audit our tech/IT life. Below are five steps to take to ensure that your tech/IT devices are in optimal condition for the exciting experiences that lie ahead.
Although 32 GB, 64 GB, or even 128 GB can seem like a ton of space on a smartphone, it can easily be filled by the dozens of images and video clips we receive – and send – on a daily basis. Further, as the space get filled, your smartphone may not be able to download new emails, download and install new updates, and its overall speed/performance may also start to deteriorate. A crucial fix for all of those maladies is to free up storage space on the device.
Unless you have been consistently ruthless in deleting image and video files, for example, the odds are they are occupying several GB of space. On all your personal computing devices – not just your smartphone – it would be prudent to not only delete unnecessary files, but also review installed applications and delete those that are no longer being used.
For files we wish to keep, but for which we might not need instantaneous access, archiving is recommended. On your smartphone, and depending on its make and model, it might accommodate secondary storage, such as through a micro-Secure Digital (SD) card. Alternatively, cloud storage could be considered, and the files accessed when required.
On other devices, such laptops, those files can be copied to the cloud, or saved on a USB drive, to be accessed as and when needed, but freeing up local storage space.
Although archiving can be construed as a form of backing up, in this context it about having a current copy of important and active files that can reinstalled at a moment’s notice. Hence should any of your devices become corrupted and needs to be wiped clean, or you have just received a brand-new device, all of your essential files, such as emails accounts, address books, calendars, customized setting, to name a few, can be automatically installed, based on the backup that had already been made.
Smartphones and tablet computers can be configured to backup automatically to a cloud account. However, it is advisable to confirm that the back-ups are indeed occurring. Generally, they are done via Wi-Fi, but may also need the device to be connected to a power source for the backups to, in fact, occur. For laptops and PCs, external hard drives are useful, especially when high capacity storage is needed.
This step covers a gamut of things. First, ensure that all installed applications, along with the device’s operating system (OS), are running the latest released versions. Second, if there are applications that you have been using – or rather trying to use – but with which you have experiencing challenges, take some time to investigate alternatives, or whether an upgrade could resolve the issue.
Third, and from a hardware perspective, this is also the time to ensure that your accessories are in good working order, and/or whether additional ones are needed. For example, over time, power cables can become frayed, or start to short-circuit, and are not only a safety, but also a fire, hazard. They should be replaced. Also, depending on how extensively you have been using your power bank (the external and portable battery supply), the battery life may be beginning to show signs of wear. If that is the case, it would be prudent to get an extra one, in the event the current one is failing.
Finally, and whilst thanks to the previous steps your devices should be performing considerably better than before, some fine-tuning may still be in order. However, how best to optimize those systems, would depend on the device (is it a smartphone, tablet or PC?) and its OS (does it use Windows, MacOS or Chrome? for example). In that regard, guidance, particular to your system, should be readily available online.
This would also be an excellent time to run the antivirus/Internet security applications that should already be installed on your devices. Although such applications might automatically run in the background, a comprehensive scan ought to be conducted, to ensure that no threat have (somehow) fallen through the cracks, and that your devices can be given a clean bill of health.
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