Preparing for 2019

The new year presents a landmark time that can represent a fresh beginning. The problem? Business never stops, there's always an email to respond to, a project to finish or an idea to develop. So, we’re going to run through a few tech tips that will help you take a step back, reset and restart with an upward trajectory for 2019.

Perform File Maintenance

An organised file structure can make your work far more efficient and productive. With the year coming to a close, tidying up all of your documents and downloads can help give you a fresh start before springing into a new year.

It can be daunting to step back and see that you have hundreds of loose documents that are incorrectly named or aren’t stored in the correct folder, but the end of the year is the time to manage the mess. Doing so will give you a clear overview of what to prioritise in 2019 and why file maintenance is so important.

  • Re-naming files and folders will allow you to quickly and accurately access files that you may need in the future. Less time spent looking for a file means more time being productive.
  • Deleting unnecessary files such as temporary download folders, early or redundant drafts and unused programs can take the strain off your computer's storage systems, allowing them to run faster.
  • Conducting maintenance at this time means that company reports, budgets, invoices and compliance material can be compiled. This ensures that you and your company are on top of things and can wrap up the year in an organised manner.

Perform Email Maintenance

Reading and responding to emails can be very costly and time-consuming. A lot of this time is wasted sorting through emails that are of little value. An overflowing inbox can be daunting but confronting it can mean that you make the most of every potential lead, customer or opportunity.

A best practice would be to locate contacts that send you the most content. Take a step back and consider if their emails are useful. If not, unsubscribe from their mailing list. This ensures that your inbox is clutter-free and that the most valuable content is finding its way to you.

If you’re away from the office for an extended period or if you’ve got some time off, implementing out of office messages may be useful. Out of office emails can give you a break and keep your clients updated simultaneously. This keeps your clients and co-workers happy and in the loop.

Out of office emails can even be used for day-to-day business. Messages are sent based on set rules that you can customise yourself.

Out of Office Message Template

When people see your out of office email, they will gauge how urgent their needs are. This may mean that they go to a second point of contact or that they might send a follow-up email – detailing what you need to know when you return. Cleaning up your inbox before going on a break will make your work easier for the new year, as it can be a never-ending cycle if not maintained.

Take the end of the year to sort through your emails, delete those with no value, archive those that you may need to refer to and keep those that are current.

Archive & Backup Your Data

Having a data backup and a data archive can be beneficial for work in the future. Archiving data is the process of securely storing files into lower, less resource intensive storage. Files like style guides, regulatory compliance documents and old contracts aren't required daily but are needed at times. Moving them from primary storage to a secondary storage platform will lower costs and de-clutter primary storage systems, allowing them to run more efficiently.

It’s best practice to back up company data onto an external system, hard drive or move it onto the cloud. Doing so will erase this threat and protect you from losing that data you just spent a year developing.

Reconsider Your Security

It’s important to consider the risks of cybersecurity, especially in today’s digital age. Security measures are often ignored due to uncertainty which can leave businesses exposed to all sorts of security threats.

Taking the easy route and assigning identical, easy to remember passwords for multiple sites can be convenient but present a major security risk. Password cracking is now more advanced than ever, a computer can crack an 8-character password in seconds, no matter how complex those characters are. This is why security experts urge people to use unique, complex and random passwords for every site. Without using a Password Manager like LastPass, this can be difficult. Password managers manage the tedious and inconvenient aspects of passwords. You won’t have to remember them and you’re able to create unique passwords that protect you and your valuable data. This can be an excellent step to take as you review your security and give you peace of mind that your data is safe.

Implementing these practices now means that your business can jump into the new year with a brand-new vision! Without any baggage from last year holding the company back, your employees can focus on achieving company goals.

With the new year coming up, don't forget to be on the lookout for cybercriminals. While everyone's busy with their festivities, spammers and scammers might be looking for a target. You can find out more about how to stay safe online with our handy guide - access it here.Five Ways to Stay Secure Online

Posted by Lachie Dixon

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