It’s that time of year when we reflect on our lives and make promises to ourselves around what we can improve on in the New Year.

All too often they surround weight loss or an improved work-life balance, but we think it’s time for tech to take a place at the resolution’s table.

We’ve compiled a list of the top five IT habits you should be considering in 2020 because they’re sure to boost productivity and make your dealings with tech less painful and more pain-free.

Develop a technique to remember passwords

It sounds silly, but you wouldn’t believe how many clients we get coming to us in January panicking because they’ve forgotten their passwords – after all, there are so many to recall, and they have to be complex to keep us safe!

But how do you come up with a hard-to-hack password that you can remember? Well, here’s a simple technique…

  1. Pick a colour – or better yet, a shade – in CAPITALS
  2. Add a punctuation mark of your choice – such as (,.!?/-:)
  3. Now, pick an object
  4. Finally, choose a number

The finished products could be something like: MAUVE.cabinet02.

Then, use visual memory techniques to help you remember it, e.g. picture two mauve cabinets in the corner of your office.

And ta-da! You now have a 15-character, complex password. Brute forcing it at a thousand passwords a second would take millions of years to crack the code!

Know how to spot a phishing email

Phishing attacks are one of the most common inlets for cyber-criminals, so it’s vital that you take time to learn how to spot one.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, however looking closely at the sender, assessing the greeting, looking at the URLs – without clicking them – and avoiding attachments are all key areas that fraudulent emails will slip up, when compared to the real McCoy.

Crucially, if you’re unsure whether a URL is legitimate, a quick and easy way to double-check is to hover your cursor over the link – again, no clicking – and look at the bar in the bottom left of your screen. If it differs from the one in the email, this is a clear warning it’s a hoax.

For the full run-down of other tell-tale signs, visit our blog from earlier in the year.

Make the most of your Office 365 account

More often than not, we invest in the latest tech and never utilise it to its full potential. But, 2020 should be the year where you really make the most of Office 365 – it’s pretty cool!

For instance, if you email lots of people about one particular topic, it’s time to unearth the ‘Contact Group’ feature. It allows you to create a distribution list, so you don’t have to type each person’s individual name/email address out each time – a huge timesaver and productivity booster.

Find out how and learn more, here!

Educate employees about cybersecurity

It’s no secret that new cyber-threats are evolving every day – and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated. So, if you haven’t already, take some time for you, and your colleagues, to get clued-up on the ‘need-to-know’.

For SME owners, it’s crucial to organise workshops with your staff – led by a security expert – to recap the basics and explain to the entire workforce on how to identify threats and what to do if they spot one.

Tell your IT provider everything

Ok, so maybe not what you had for lunch – unless you really want to, of course – but what we mean here is that a great IT provider doesn’t just know about your tech set-up, they know about your wider business model and future objectives. And they should tailor your IT requirements accordingly.

From company growth, budget revisions, software licence upgrades, recruitment, leavers, remote working, cyber-security training – you name it, your tech partner should know about it.

We know life in and out of work gets super busy, so in order to keep your IT support provider at the front of your mind at least some of the time, set up a recurring calendar reminder – monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly – to check in and let them know of any updates.

There are one-million-and-one other tech habits we could all be adopting in 2020, but it’s all about picking one and sticking to it – instead of it being forgotten about once the January blues are out of the way.

If you need any advice on how to start implementing those habits, or have any other IT-related queries, the kettle is always on at Q2Q – we may even have some spare mince pies on offer too! So, pop in or use our ‘contact us’ page!

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Lancaster: 01524 581690

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