Kicking off the year in a third lockdown isn’t how many of us imagined 2021 starting off, however the light at the end of the tunnel has been the news about vaccines – the development and roll-out of three virus-fighting heroes that will help restore society to some form of the ‘old normal’.

Medical and vaccine-related news is something we’ve all been reading a lot of recently, however, we’ve had a think and believe there’s also an IT-support-centric analogy in there too.

As a Lancaster managed IT support company that cares about our clients’ tech wellbeing, we decided that it would be apt for our first blog of the year to tie into the current state of the nation.

A technical health check-up

In truth, we like to think of the team here at Q2Q as something akin to IT doctors. In simple terms, we look after our clients’ equipment and nurse it to full health if any complications occur – with the added skills to foresee some ‘illnesses’ and provide effective treatment at speed to prevent any digital catastrophes from taking place.

The COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping our nation is being monitored by experts who are striving to contain and, ultimately, eradicate the virus via mass vaccinations – and while this is obviously a different kettle of fish, there is a parallel to be drawn with SME IT support.

We repeatedly bang the drum about proactive as opposed to preventative monitoring and maintenance, and this is arguably now more important than ever before – especially with remote working looking like a permanent fixture and an increased number of IT threats easily arising from the home-working sphere.

In true IT-medic style, the advice we would give to any potential patient – SME owner – would be to follow the old proverb of ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’. But as much as literal apples are tasty and very nutritious, they won’t do much good for modern-day tech systems. Here, we’re speaking more figuratively…

🍏 Anti-virus: This should be, if it’s not already, a crucial component of any SME’s IT strategy. It goes without saying that all regular cyber security updates should be installed by your in-house or outsourced tech team on a regular basis, to ensure that your systems are protected against the latest online threats.

🍏 Patches and updates: It’s not just anti-virus programmes which need upgrading though, other software and hardware also need some TLC (tech-loving care) from time to time, in order to continue performing well and help to prevent unauthorised access from hackers.

🍏 Performance monitoring: Did you know that tech needs a regular health check-up – or as we like to call it, an IT audit – to ensure optimum performance is being achieved?

If you’re going to have a fit and healthy tech set up in 2021, it’s important to keep all equipment running efficiently – from desktops and laptops, to printers and servers. For example, if devices are running slowly or servers are being overloaded, this doesn’t only have a negative impact on technical performance, but the knock-on effect is also employee productivity and causing company downtime.

Rebuild and upgrades are sometimes needed to keep systems operating healthily, and that’s why it’s vital tech teams are continually identifying and remedying any pain-points as quickly as possible.

🍏 Love: Now, we might be techies who love IT, but even if you’re a technophobe, there’s no denying that devices need looking after externally as well as internally, in order to prevent any accidental damage during transit.

In this sense, laptop cases are a vital investment for staff who travel or take their device home, and while moving from place to place may not be possible in the current climate, in the future, we’ll be back to commuting and hot-desking, so it’s a solid investment for employees. Cable tidies are also useful for headphones or chargers, ensuring they don’t get twisted and damaged in transit.

🍏 Ergonomics: While looking after your business’s tech equipment is important, equally vital is taking care of yourself at work. And did you know what your workstation is a key element in creating not only a relaxed but productive one too.

Having a sturdy, spacious desk with a monitor at eye-level is one piece of the puzzle, with a supportive, adjustable chair, an ergonomic keyboard and a mouse that comfortably fits your hand are other important considerations for an effective workspace and one which reduces strain on the eyes, back and wrists.All these basic areas should be regularly assessed as part of an SME’s IT business strategy, as getting these things right can not only go a long way in helping to safeguard any short and long-term issues – such as a system outage, cyber breach, phishing attack or damaged equipment – but also creates a more productive work atmosphere for staff.

If you’d like to chat to our team of IT doctors about how best to prevent any unwelcomed tech emergencies from occurring and, ultimately, what level of support your individual firm needs, please get in touch!

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    Technical IT Support illustration at Q2Q HQ Lancaster, Lancashire and the North West