As a business IT support professional, part of my days is spent fixing problems on computers. Some of the problems that may occur such as computer slowness may be caused by malware, viruses, or bad software (full of bloatware). At one time or another, all users may experience some form of computer malfunction. In my post, 10 Things to Do When Your Windows PC Behaves Badly, I talked about how to recover from computer issues. But what about preventing them from happening? You can never stop all computer issues, but there are some things that you can do to help.

 

Install Reliable Virus Protection

At work we have site licenses for some of the best malware and virus protection on the market. We use Symantec Antivirus and Malware Bytes. For home users, I recommend a couple of great free options. For virus protection, my favorite is Free AVG. However, if you use AT&T for your home Internet you can download the full McAfee suite for free. If you use Comcast Xfinity you can get the full Norton suite for free. This should protect you from most viruses that are out there. And you should run it often to manually check for viruses.

It is also important that you protect your computer from malware. I have 2 go to programs. The first is Spybot. The second is Ad-Adware. These 2 programs are not only used to check your computers for malware, but they can prevent it from being infected.

 

Update When Needed

We all have a love/hate relationship with Windows Updates. However, they are necessary. And it’s not just Windows. Macs have updates too. Security updates fix vulnerabilities or flaws in operating system software that could make your computers more vulnerable to hacks and attacks. Your updates should be set to run automatically. On Windows, go to

 

Backup… Often!

Protecting your data is important. These days, it’s careless to just save your files on your computer and trust that they will be ok. While hard drives are a lot more resistant these days, you can never be too careful. Something as simple as a power surge can wreak havoc on a computer. And of course nothing is perfect. I’ve had computer hard drives die out of the blue that should have lasted for years. Rather than storing data directly to your desktop, consider saving to the Cloud. You not only get a copy of the document on your computer, you also have an offsite backup. If your hardware should ever fail, you’ll be able to recover everything from the minute your computers stopped working. My service of choice is Google Drive. I subscribe to the 1TB plan for $9.99 a month. This gives me plenty of space for all of my files. And even when away from home I can access my data.

 

Be Prepared… Just in Case

If you are running a small business, it is important that your team knows what to do if computer disaster does strike. Your team members should have clear directives on how to respond in the event of a virus outbreak, denial of service attack, or hardware failure.

 

Identify Shortcomings

As computers and software getting older and older, the chances of it breaking down become more of a possibility. Take some time to identify shortcomings with your equipment. If you have a 10 year old external hard drive with all of your important data on it, it may be time to move it to a newer, safer drive, or back it up to the Cloud. If you are relying on a 8 year old PC to run your small business, it is definitely time for an upgrade. Keep in mind, however, that additional updates will need to be made as new security vulnerabilities, or key changes in information storage arise.

Taking a few steps ahead of time can prevent major problems that users experience when their computer systems fail. Whether you are your own business IT support, or you outsource, your small business could become the target of malicious, cyber attacks, or simply experience a mind-blowing malfunction. Being prepared can make all the difference in the world. With these five steps, you can protect the privacy of your customers and stakeholders, and make sure that your daily operations never miss a beat.