Computer tips for small businesses

Small businesses rely heavily on computers, so the companies should give the their equipment proper attention and maintenance. The quicker a user can perform work on a computer, typically means the better the bottom line will be for the company.

Here are tech guidelines for small businesses:

Don’t go cheap on computers. Remember, you typically get what you pay for when it comes to computers and technology. Though that $150 refurnished or $250 new PC might look good for the budget, they’ll likely offer much lower performance and reliability and won’t last as long. Even if the user just checks emails, browses the web, and performs other light-load activities, a faster PC will allow them to get it done quicker without the frustration and delay of lockups and crashes.

Evaluate software compatibility before upgrading. Before upgrading a computer or buying a new one, ensure the software you use will work with the newer Windows version. I’ve seen many businesses that use old software, which can complicate upgrades. The software, for instance, may only be compatible with Windows XP. If updating to a more current version of the software isn’t possible, however, other tricks can be used to run it on newer computers.

Keep computers and software maintained. You should keep your computer and software up-to-date and maintained to ensure optimum performance, reliability, and security. Just like I mentioned with purchasing computers, the better maintained you keep your computers, the more productive your employee will likely be to help your bottom line. Having a good Internet security suite, using extra malware protection, and keeping software up-to-date can help decrease the chances of viruses, adware, and malware from slowing or halting work.

Use free and open source software. If you want to reduce your computer and IT budget, consider free and open source software. Instead of purchasing Microsoft Office for instance, consider LibreOffice, which is compatible with Microsoft formats and it’s interface resembles an older version of Microsoft Office. For an Microsoft Outlook alternative, consider Thunderbird for an email client and then Lightning Calendar for calendar functionality. For an Adobe Photoshop alternative, consider GIMPShop. For a Quicken alternative, consider TurboCASH 5 or GnuCash.

Back up your data. In many businesses, customer data and other business files are extremely vital. If lost or damaged, there could be severe consequences. Therefore, ensure all data is regularly backed up. Its well worth the small investment of your time and money. Though backing up to an external hard or flash drive is better than nothing, I recommend online backup so your data is stored off-site in case of a fire or other disaster.

Utilize an IT company. Even if you have an employee that helps with tech support, it’s always a good idea to involve an IT professional. They can perform check-ups and clean-ups to help increase performance, reliability and security. They can also offer valuable advice to help your computers and IT run smoother.

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Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer repair and IT services at homes and businesses in the Dayton, Springfield and Northern Cincinnati areas. For more information, visit www.onspottechs.com or call 937-315-0286.

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