runPCrun's 8 recommendations to reduce your IT costs by wise computing
This is a list of important practices that runPCrun recommend in order to keep your IT costs as low as possible.
- Use a different browser than Internet Explorer, especially if you allow staff (or children) to browse websites other than strictly commercial ones. Because Internet Explorer is tied into the Windows operating system, any flaws or security holes in Internet Explorer can be taken advantage of more readily than other browsers. Malicious programs then wreck havoc with the operating system. RunPCRun recommends *.
- Do not install 'free','fun' products like Smiley Central, Popswatter, My Mail Signature, My Mail Stationery, My Mail Stamp, Cursor Mania or other free programs designed to give "fun" features, they are inevitably a form of program designed to watch your browsing habits for marketing reasons and report back or even redirect you to where they want to go to make money off you and your habits, they can also cause problems themselves. See this article for a fuller description:
- Do not install software unless necessary to do your job. Games and the above "fun" products can cause extra problems. P2P software such as Limewire and Bittorrent for downloading music while in a business enviroment -quite apart from being copyright infringement- can be a bad idea, as they can be a vector for viruses and other malware especially if used by the someone who isn't aware of the various dangers.
- Do not allow children to use your business laptop/computer! They will recklessly perform the first three points here at any time!
- Keep Windows updated, if it prompts you from the yellow shield in the bottom right hand corner of your screen or at shutdown time - do it! The same goes for Java and your anti-virus. Ignore these at your peril.
- Use the "Help" feature in software packages you are using (either the "Help" menu bar or simply the "F1" key), if you don't find what you want then try a Google search using relevant terms.
- Backup your business critical files as often as possible. If you find you don't have the time or the inclination, consider using an automated online backup service like Backup Direct or MozyPro. Make sure you include Outlook email files if on a standalone PC (or leave your email on the email server using IMAP or GoogleMail) and then don't forget other files such as your Internet bookmarks/favorites.
- Sometimes trying to save money can cost you more in the long run. Trying to buy the cheapest PC's, broadband, printers or email can often backfire in lost productivity or extra costs in getting them working. Wisely spending a bit more money on a product can often result in a lower Total Cost of Ownership in extra productivity and the hours not lost with downed equipment, communications, extra costs when printing or simply fixing the problem. Recently for example we've received quite a few new laptops in the workshop for "being slow". The laptops were purchased with Vista pre-installed but with only 0.5-1Gb RAM - thereby crippling them. Buying the extra memory at purchase time could have saved the customer time, hassle and money.Remember to consult a professional or knowledgeable friend for advice before making larger purchases.
- Read articles made by computer professionals aimed at businesses like yourself. e.g. "How to set up your first small office cheaply" as well as articles on IT and E-commerce at BusinessLink and Business Technology at Bytestart
- If you see an error that looks like it could be serious or stops you working, put the error into Google and see what people have to say about it or if you're confident - how to fix it yourself!
* means there is some referral or partnership with these suppliers via the links given. Check out our stance on reviews and recommendations.