Start-Up as you mean to go on

Few businesses get along with no recourse to information technology and well-deployed IT can massively improve the efficiency of ANY smaller business. We will expand on the areas below but start with this checklist of the major aspects of business computing that any company owner needs to consider.

 

Laptop, PC or tablet? It is usually impractical to rely on a tablet computer as your main business device so, while increasingly versatile and powerful, they should not be considered for your primary machine.

 

You’ll probably already have a view on Apple or Microsoft and that choice is a matter of personal taste.

Office-bound workers might be more cheaply & comfortably equipped with a desktop PC but a laptop can be more versatile and can be enhanced with external screen, mouse & keyboard for in-house use.

 

Screens? Investing in a larger monitor (or two screens) can improve productivity at the keyboard.

For a laptop screen-width, portability, ease-of-use and comfort are always a compromise – if it is your main device then you probably need a mid-sized or desktop-replacement model.

 

Ergonomics? Whatever your business niche, as a start-up-business owner you will find yourself spending a surprising amount of time at the keyboard. Chair, desk-layout, screen height, brightness & distance, ambient light can all effect computer users’ health and productivity. Research, experiment and organise your environment correctly from the outset.

 

Broadband? Sometimes you pay for what you get and that goes for business-class broadband – choose a suitable provider based on their reputation in independent reviews.

 

Security? Is your critical business data protected from theft, fire, flood, computer viruses or malicious ex-employees etc.

Ensure that computer operating systems are kept up-to-date with the latest security patches. Install business-class anti-virus security software (we use ESET) and also keep that up-to-date.

Learn your obligations for data protection and consider installing encryption software especially on laptops.

Passwords should be long, complex, secret & changed periodically – secure tools such as KeePass can help you manage your plethora of passwords.

Protect wireless networks and be careful when using public wireless hotspots.

 

Back-Up? Things go wrong - protect your data from hard-ware breakdown or accidental deletion etc, by instigating an appropriate back-up routine.

Cloud backups, where data can be copied automatically to an internet location, are recommended for peace of mind but it is good practice to keep local, ‘bare-metal’ copies too.

Develop a disaster recovery plan to minimise disruption if your system does fail.

 

Mobility? Do you want to get your stuff when you are out of the office? Or share certain files securely with distant colleagues, customers or on other of your computers? There are various techniques and technologies available to enable secure access to email or company data on mobile devices and remote computers and to collaborate with co-workers.

 

 

Applications? Beyond email and calendar management and office applications to handle letters & spreadsheets, you will be able to choose from myriad applications designed to boost business efficiency.

Take your time to evaluate the best suites for your situation.

Note that many applications are cloud-based now or have cloud versions and these may hold advantages for you.

You will know that, whatever your business category, you will be devoting much time and effort to marketing and nurturing potential leads so a good contact management system may prove essential. Other categories of essential business software include accounts/bookkeeping, order/invoicing, expense-recording, social media management & email marketing.

 

 

 

Whether you are a start-up business or going-concern we can advise on any aspect of SME computing – get in touch at any time about any of the above.

 
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