Time for a technology tune-up?

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to devote a little bit of thought to how you want to improve your business and productivity technology in the months ahead. You don’t really need to come up with a set of Technology New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because resolutions are, by rule, made to be broken. But wouldn’t it help to have a simple plan for making a few improvements or easy changes that can lead to safer, more productive computing for your business in 2013?

I don’t mean major tech projects like installing a new office network or buying a fleet of new desktops for the staff. Budget-intensive initiatives like those need to be part of your fiscal planning process. There are plenty of inexpensive — even free — things that you can do within your existing infrastructure to improve the impact of technology on your business’ bottom line. Here are a couple of examples.

Anti-Virus Checkup

Ideally, you should have an annual anti-virus update already on your busy business calendar — assuming, of course, that you have anti-virus software installed on every machine. If you don’t have anti-virus software in place, or you don’t regularly renew software and update virus definitions, there’s no time to waste. The start of a new year is a great time to start new security habits.

Your anti-virus checkup now needs to include software for your Mac computers, mobile computing devices and smart phones as well. Android devices received the most attention from malware in 2012, according to this report  from Kaspersky Lab, but other mobile operating systems were also the targets of malicious code.

Password Refresh

Network login, office email, web-based CRM, Gmail account, Dropbox, Twitter, phone apps, iCloud, Facebook, Steam, Pinterest, online banking, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, Xbox Live, AOL. Just to name a few. How many different user accounts do you have that require a password to login? More importantly, on how many of those sites and applications do you use the same username and password? Maybe it’s time to spread around some updated passwords to help protect your most valuable digital information from hacking.

As you can discover with only a little bit of reading, the online, cloud-powered, password-protected digital ecosystem we build around ourselves is inter-related as never before. A determined hacker who gains access to just one of your important accounts can use that access to basically destroy your digital existence  —  everything from emptying your bank account to bricking your smartphone. Maintaining an armada of unique, strong passwords across all of your logins isn’t the easiest thing to do (and even that won’t provide complete protection), but when the alternative is the risk of seeing all of your accounts blown up, it just might be worth the effort.