4 ways to maintain and protect your existing IT systems

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Here are four ways you can maintain and protect your IT systems so they continue to perform well and are not left vulnerable to security threats.

The prospect of spending a small fortune on new IT equipment may seem like a particularly grim one right now, given the challenges most small businesses have been facing this year.

However, if you have not been updating your existing equipment on a regular basis, then investing in replacements might be your only option.

This is because your older systems and software may have come to their ‘end of life’; in other words, they are no longer supported by the vendor.

This doesn’t mean they will stop working completely. In fact, you’ll probably still be able to use them to browse the web, and open and edit documents – at least for the time being.

The problem is, the vendor will not be maintaining these systems; updating them with new security patches; or providing technical support to help you fix any issues that might crop up in the future. Security releases in particular are vital for keeping your technology safe, as well as the business functions that depend on them.

Eventually, your systems will become obsolete and completely unworkable. Even before they reach that point, you will experience slow load times and a generally poor performance from your devices, which will hamper your productivity and fuel frequent bouts of computer rage.

It goes without saying, then, that you need to continually upgrade your IT if you want it to perform at its best. This can be as simple as making sure you’re running the latest version of your operating system – but there are a few other things you can do to avoid disastrous downtime and costly IT replacements, too.

Here are four ways you can maintain and protect your IT systems so they continue to perform well and are not left vulnerable to security threats.

If you’re using Microsoft Windows, ALWAYS keep your operating systems up to date

It never ceases to amaze us how many people are still using unsupported versions of Microsoft Windows! Newer releases have better features, greater security, and improved drivers for your hardware. Older, unsupported versions – like Windows Vista, Windows XP, and, as of the start of 2023, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 – just won’t provide you with the protection or the performance you need to work safely and efficiently.

The same advice applies to your antivirus software

Viruses and malware are evolving all the time, so you need to make sure your chosen antivirus package can deliver protect against the latest threats. Set your software to check for new patches and releases at least a day and enable automatic updates so you don’t need to check on progress manually.

Free up space as often as you can

Imagine how much stuff ends up being stored on your device after a few months or years of use. Getting rid of unnecessary files every now and then – including those that are still lingering in your recycle bin – will mean your device won’t need to work quite so hard to retrieve the files you actually need.

If you’re running Windows, run Disk Cleanup from time to time to get rid of downloaded program files, temporary internet files, and thumbnails.
Be sure to also uninstall any apps you don’t use any more and move unused files onto an external hard drive.

Replace your hard disk drives (HDD) with solid state drives (SSD)

Memory storage has a huge bearing on your system’s performance – so anything that will increase memory within your device will improve its longevity.

SSDs can be up to 10 times faster than their HDD counterparts. So, if you find your computer is struggling to keep up with your workload, replacing your old hard disk drive with an SDD could be a quick and easy way to bring it up to speed. SSDs are quieter, faster loading, longer lasting, and use considerably less power – plus, they are a lot cheaper than the price of a new PC!

Following the advice above, and investing in smaller upgrades along the way, could very well keep your machines running for longer. The team here at ECOM can help you sustain your systems by updating and upgrading your hardware and software where appropriate, until the time comes to replace it.

Even if you maintain it well and make sure it is upgraded regularly, equipment that has been around for longer than 5 to 7 years will run considerably slower than newer products. If you have reached the point where you have no choice but to buy from new, remember that the team here at ECOM can help you source suitable hardware and software for your setup.

Here are four ways you can maintain and protect your IT systems so they continue to perform well and are not left vulnerable to security threats.

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