Happy New Year Everyone. January is Clean Up Your Computer Month. So what better time to peek into your IT environments to see where a little tidying could do some good.

Here are five computer cleanup tips that can help you extend device life, improve performance, or tighten security for your computer network.

1. Inventory office machine weak spots

Look for typical weak spots in your environment: devices like printers, fax machines, copiers, and older IoT machines such as smart coffee makers that often don’t have a lot of security features.

Cybersecurity consultant Doyle Hendricks points out that “most offices have at least a few overlooked attack vectors in dated hardware or IoT appliances, and they shouldn’t be ignored.”

Can you get rid of the machine altogether or upgrade it to something more secure? If not, Hendricks recommends keeping devices unplugged until they’re needed.

2. Flag aging network equipment and computers

As a rule of thumb, most network gear lasts about three to five years, with a similar average lifespan for computers.

Using a comprehensive device health summary report to understand which servers, firewalls, switches, routers, and endpoints are in the aging red zone, so you can make a plan to replace those items in the next 12 months.

If you do this asset inventory across your entire environment periodically, you can access some great discounts due to bulk buying with your hardware suppliers.

Also, when you’re ready to swap in new network gear, remember to get the old stuff out before it starts collecting dust and creates its own risks.

3. Audit your application portfolio

The average large business uses 367 apps to get their daily work done. While your company may not have a portfolio that big, chances are they’re using dozens of different tools in their day-to-day work.

Oversized app portfolios can lead to frustration and productivity loss. The average employee flips between 13 and 30 apps in a day, and more than a quarter of those employees say app overload makes them less efficient.

Too many apps can also lead to unnecessary spending, where companies pay for multiple tools that do the same or similar thing, or tools that were purchased on subscription but forgotten about.

All of this is to say auditing your software applications is a task that’s ripe with potential payoff.

  • Are you still using everything you’re paying for? Cancel anything dormant.
  • Are multiple teams separate accounts with the same tool? Consolidate.
  • Is there functionality overlap between tools? Consolidate.
  • If you consolidate users and apps, do you now have enough volume that you can help negotiate better contract pricing?

4. Scan for unauthorized agents

Unfortunately, bad actors continue to use phishing campaigns to install legit software agents on a target device, and from there to use the agent’s management and remote control features to wreak havoc on your computer environment. There are many maintenance tools scripts to help auto-scan your devices for unauthorized apps. Make a clean sweep of anything it finds and promptly qualify/remove it.

5. Get the gunk out

While we hope you never have to deal with the sort of nightmare messes that appear in the Tech Support Gore subreddit, there are still lots of devices that could do with a good blowout now and again.

dirty fan

Switches, servers, and other closet gear need regular dusting to stay optimally healthy. If your business has a relatively dusty environment such as manufacturing or automotive repair, your laptop and desktop machines will need regular physical maintenance too.

For everything else, once a year might be enough, and what better time than Clean Your Computer Month? These compressed air dusters are perfect for the job, and better for the environment than canned air.

IT professional services in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area

There’s no need to wait for spring to get a jump on cleaning. Kick off the new year with a plan to spruce up your computer environments for great performance, efficiency, and security all year-round. Our consultants are working with businesses to streamline their operations, incorporate data security tools, and developing a technology roadmap.  Speak to a representative today to discuss your requirements.