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Reopening Your Business: A Computer Checklist

Posted on 2020-06-01 13:35:18

 

As the state of Washington moves through its various stages of reopening businesses, it’s important to address the condition of computers and networks at the heart of commerce. Owners and staff have not switched on the devices on their premises in many months.

Here are some tips for taking your electronics in the office out of mothballs that should help you get up and running quickly. The tips may also keep your equipment out of the shop so you can avoid repair costs and the expense of interruption to your business operations. 

Dust your computer thoroughly

The most common scenario for closing up shops at the start of Lockdown (on March 23, 2020) was to turn off the computers in offices. Many business owners believed office closures would last just a few weeks. However, the governor lengthened the business closures significantly. If you hadn't covered your computers against dust and moisture when you said goodbye to your office and staff at that time, the devices will almost certainly have a layer of grime on them..

First, unplug the computer from the wall socket. Then, use a handheld vacuum (like a dust buster) with a soft brush attachment to clean the dust from the outside of the computer. If the machine is a desktop model, that means you'll need to clean the chassis (the part of the computer sitting on the floor under your desks or taking up space on top of the work surface). You'll also need to clean the monitor the same way. Be careful not to force dirt and dust into the air vents. 

Once the dust gets inside your computer, it is difficult to clean the components without opening the chassis. So, don't use a cloth on the computer until after you've sucked up the "dust bunnies" that have been breeding on your equipment. When you do use a cloth, dampen it with water first to clean the exterior of the machine.

Do not drench the cloth, as some of the water may seep into the computer and fry the components inside the machine. 

Treat laptop computers the same way: vacuum the outside of the machine, then use a damp cloth to wipe the outside down. You can also use a damp cloth to clean the screen of the portable computer.

Make keeping your machines in the office dust-free a weekly ritual. While the threat of another wave of the Covid-19 virus still looms, it will be important to keep all surfaces in the office sanitary. That includes the surfaces of your computers.

Clean the keyboard of grime

We talked about cleaning your keyboard of grime in a previous blog post. Just make sure the computer is OFF before you begin any cleaning on any part of the keyboard. 

Run the anti-virus manually

Sound IT offers its customers Managed Antivirus (MAV) coverage and a Managed IT package. The programs are meant to protect computers from malware and to notify system administrators in case malware makes it through antivirus defences. However, if you do not have automated protection against malware attacks, you need to download antivirus software on your own

Once the software is on your computer, you will need to run it immediately. The Covid-19 period was a very active one for hackers, who increased their malevolent activity a lot. Free antivirus software is available to download; however, it is best to pay for a service that will keep your computer's defenses up to date.    

Do not call phone numbers that pop up on your screen

If a blue or red screen appears on your computer after startup that says you have a problem with your system, do not call the phone number they display on the monitor. Hackers with their own call centers masquerade as Microsoft technicians. When you call the number, the fake technician will attempt to extort you to return control of the computer to users. 

Instead, call a trusted local service provider to help you regain access to your machine. In our blog post Fight Against IT Support Scammers,  we discuss how this sort of fraud happens and what you can do to protect yourself.

Update all software

After months of not being used, the software on your computers will be out of date. Before you use your computers for work, update all the software applications you use on a daily basis to get your work done. This will take some time, so consider organizing other aspects of your business while the updates download onto your device. 

Delete any software you do not use or need. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in software that has not been updated. In many instances, software that is out of date has "holes" through which hackers can drop malware that infects your computer.

SoundIT offers businesses and home office computer users a Managed IT service that will remotely ensure all your software is up to date. The service package will also make all your apps consistent, to significantly reduce the cost of troubleshooting the software if a problem arises. Managed IT will also automatically protect your computer from malware intrusions and alert Sound IT the moment a virus has hit your system.  

 

While going into Lockdown was a relatively easy operation for businesses, Re-opening is proving to be a huge challenge for many owners and managers. After you have ensured your staff is safe and healthy and ready to return to work, make sure your computers are also ready for action before you rebuild for a new era of commerce.

 

Give Sound IT a call at (425)654-2502 to help get your computers up and running again, for tech support, or to manage your computer's well-being.