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Business Management

Dan Swinhoe (Global) - IT New Year's Resolutions

Get fit? Never. Stop smoking? Not with the stress of everyday life. Quit drinking? Are you mad?

It's that time of year again, when we all try in vain to make meagre promises to ourselves to improve the ever-decreasing quality of our lives. Chances are they will fail, and in the long run, it's not a big deal. You'll be a little bit fatter and it will take you a little bit longer to climb the stairs is all.

When it comes to IT however, there's plenty that can be done that won't take a massive amount of effort (and plenty more that will) but will still make life that little bit easier. Here's some IT New Year's Resolution suggestions to ensure you have a trouble-free 2013:

Staying Secure

A big thing made up of a million little things here. Security was a big deal in 2012 with all those data breaches, viruses, Hacktivists and whatnot, so trying not come a cropper in 2013 is a resolution worth keeping. Things you can do towards this one include:

-Password: Make it bigger, more complicated, change it regularly, and don't have one for everything - at least put the 1 in different places.
-Updates: Having all the latest software might be a stress and a bore while waiting for the updates, but the older your software, the more likely it is to be hacked. Worth it in the long run.

-Beware The Dodgy Link: Spam email, fake buttons and viruses everywhere; it's easier than ever to fill your computer with nasty code, so care must be taken. Check the URL of every link before you click unless you are 100% sure you trust them - and check the sender to make sure it's actually sent from who you think.

-Backup: Simple, but easily forgotten. Save regularly, backup frequently. It's easy to forget, but can be costly if not done. You have been warned.

-Secure That Device: Smartphones, Phablets, Tablets of all sizes, hybrids; mobility is here to stay, so get securing. Whether it's adding the right security software or making sure any sensitive data on those devices is properly protected, don't regret allowing BYOD in 2013.

Simplify

All this IT & Tech lark is getting very confusing. Hopefully this year we can all have a good clear-out and work out what we really need, or risk being swamped with information overload. A bit of work required in the short-term, but can provide long-term inner calm, and may result in less desire for unhealthy treats.

-Sort Out Social Media: There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of social media sites out there. That doesn't mean you need to be on all of them. In all likelihood you're just talking to the same audience over and over. See where your audience is, pick the social networks they use and focus on interacting with them. Maybe even see if Google+ is worth the trouble. And avoid any faux pas such as #susanalbumparty.

-Sort Out Your Email: When the unread messages in your inbox reaches three or four digits, life becomes a drag. All the spam, newsletters, vouchers and occasionally those important deadline-type ones that never get replied to can become a mental burden and something needs to be done. Unsubscribe from the chatter, delete the pictures of cats from your friends, and if absolutely necessary, declare email bankruptcy and start afresh. Avoid a repeat by creating a system.

-Sort Out Your Apps: Do you need 5 versions of Angry Birds, movie makers that explode your friend's head or any number of other daft apps? Despite your protests, no, no you don't. Clearing out the apps you never use, never have used and never will use, will make finding DoodleJump that little bit easier.

Avoid Privacy Woes

Whether it's losing your customer's private info, or worse, selling it off, chances are either way the end result will be the same: very unhappy people and bad headlines. Best way to avoid any troublesome privacy arguments is to a) refer to the ‘Stay Secure' resolution and b) don't do anything to your customer's data you would be unhappy with anyone doing to yours.

Better Communication

The constant to-ing and fro-ing of emails can become very tiresome (assuming you're not one of the people considering email bankruptcy), especially across time zones. Better communication, whether it's IM, more video calls, or just more face-to-face trips and meetings, just makes good sense.

Save the Planet

Claims that we are living in the era of the paperless office are premature, but being a bit more conscious of how much you use, picking the tech that uses less energy, and making sure the office actually has a recycling bin are easy ways to do your bit for Mother Nature. And you might reduce the bills a bit too.

Try Something New

It's a fast-moving world, so keeping pace with change is a pre-requisite to success. Some things you could try in 2013:

-Embrace Open Source: The quality may vary, but the good stuff works just as well as regular software without all the licensing headaches. If all else fails and you can't find what you want you could...

-Try Programming: The Raspberry Pi was developed with the idea to get kids into code. Why not adults too? The more you understand about the computers you work on every day the more confident you feel about using them.

-Get On The Cloud: Now possibly the most commonly used word in IT Marketing Vernacular, maybe 2013 is when you see what all the fuss is about.

-Be Adventurous With Your OS: Ready to Migrate? Maybe skip Windows 7 and go straight to 8, or try Mountain Lion, or be a rebel and go to Linux.

Touch a Screen: Touchscreens of all sizes are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Hybrids may be the perfect middle ground for you, or perhaps phablets fit just right in your pocket. As with everything else, have a go and see if it works for you.

By Dan Swinhoe, Editorial Assistant, IDG Connect

What are your IT Resolutions for the New Year? Join our LinkedIn group and comment.

 

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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