Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why (and How) You Should Plan for Computer Disaster

How many hours -- or days -- would it take you to recover your business data, re-image your machines, and get your business running again if a flood, virus outbreak, or other disaster took your business offline?

CMIT Solutions’ own Scott Brennan recently addressed the issue of data loss on WGN Chicago TV. Click here to get his take on protecting your computer from disaster.

Here are a few other tips on how to minimize the chances of a disaster doing permanent damage to your business:

  1. Take a full inventory of your data and find out age and file types. You might be shocked at how much of it is old graphics files or employees’ personal MP3 files and movies -- things that you don’t need to waste storage space on.
  2. Write down all your software product keys, license numbers, passwords, configuration notes, and encryption codes and keep them in a locked safe -- preferably both on premises and off.
  3. Write down a detailed plan for restoring data in the event of a loss -- that means figuring out the sequence in which applications, servers, and databases need to be brought back online in order for data to properly repopulate.
  4. Run backups regularly and test them regularly. This is important because certain types of backups are easily corrupted or may stop before they’re complete. Test your backups to make sure they’re actually capable of a full system restore.
  5. Find out from your backup provider how long it would take to recover in the event of a complete data loss. Some providers can take days or even weeks to ship a full set of disks; others may take less than 48 hours.

If this sounds like a lot of work -- well, it is! But putting in the time now can prevent you from some major hassles later. Or call CMIT Solutions and we can help you get started on the path to complete disaster preparedness.

Posted via web from evanstein's posterous

Friday, February 6, 2009

Professional Etiquette in Facebook

Sorry, folks – LinkedIn is no longer enough. If you want to do business in modern America, chances are you’re going to have to join Facebook at some point. Maybe it’s because you’re participating on a conference panel that’s coordinating content through Facebook, or maybe you joined a professional networking group with a Facebook page. For many people these days, it has to do with finding work – if you’re out of a job and looking for a position, you have to raise your profile both online and off, and Facebook is one very good way to get more visible on the Web.

Many people hesitate to join Facebook because they’re understandably concerned about mingling their professional and their private lives. Fortunately, Facebook is so highly customizable that you can rest assured your potential employers will never see your goofy Halloween photos, and your friends will never be treated to your reflections on business topics.

To see a very informative slide presentation on how to customize Facebook’s privacy settings and make sure your business and private lives don’t intersect, click here. Below are some more rules of thumb for professionals on Facebook.

  1. Keep your profile photo professional looking. Everybody who has access to your page will see the same identifying photo – so don’t do anything too wacky or risqué. More fanciful pictures can go in separate, restricted photo albums.
  2. Less is more. When it comes to biographical information, you can adjust who sees your full and partial profile. However, as a general rule on the Web it’s best not to supply so much identifying information that a complete stranger could track you down if they happened to be able to access your Facebook page. Nobody needs to know what year you were born, what zip code you live in, or other such details that could be used by identity thieves.
  3. Don’t spam. Facebook makes it easy for you to contact your whole network with updates, questions, and comments. Think about who really needs to know the information you’re about to send out and target it only to them. Your friends in the Chamber of Commerce don’t need to know about the bake sale your PTO is sponsoring next week.

Facebook can be pretty intimidating and complicated in the beginning – but once you get the hang of it you’ll see just how addictive it can be as well!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Make Your Battery Last Longer

Pretty much everyone who owns a PC laptop has, at some point or another, found themselves with a computer that's nearly out of battery power and no electrical outlets in sight. (Usually this happens right before a road trip with three kids in the back of the car screaming for their Dora the Explorer DVD, or the moment you board a plane with six hours' worth of business presentations to review.) If you want to prevent these sorts of calamities from happening in the future, you can take a few simple steps to reduce your PC's power consumption and increase the number of hours you can get out of a fully charged battery.

  1. Dim your screen. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do is dim your screen. Computer screens use up a surprising amount of power when they're at maximum brightness, so keeping your screen as dim as you can tolerate will keep your battery from running out too quickly.
  2. Minimize moving parts. Whirring fans and spinning disk drives can quickly deplete your battery, so keep your computer cool and don't run DVDs or CDs.
  3. Turn off autosave. You should, of course, periodically save whatever you're working on, but autosave eats up more power than you want to use if you're running on a battery.
  4. Don't multitask. Keep the number of programs and processes you're running to a minimum. Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, and Outlook tend to use a lot less power than graphics- and processing-intensive programs like the Adobe suite, video games, and music.
  5. Don't use external devices. Any USB-connected device, even if it's shut off, can still drain battery power, so avoid using mice or flash drives.

In addition, laptops running Windows XP and Vista will have a "Power Options" setting in the control panel that lets you adjust your machine's power consumption.

These tips should help you get the most life you can out of a fully charged laptop battery. To keep your battery in good condition, many experts also recommend running the battery until it's nearly empty and then fully recharging.

Posted via web from evanstein's posterous