In 2010, Virgin Blue Airlines’ systems went down. The issue was a result of a hardware failure, which affected their internet bookings, reservations, check-in and boarding systems. The outage hampered their ability to do business for 11 days, thwarting the travel plans of 50,000 passengers who were scheduled to travel on 400 flights. The airline’s reservation management company had to pay Virgin Blue a cool $20 million in compensation, but the brand’s reputational damage was far greater than this.

If the Virgin Blue incident teaches us anything, it is that downtime costs you money and damages your reputation. This makes it ever more important to have the right computer maintenance policies in place to ensure that your hardware and software is always up and running. Here are four tasks we believe should be on every computer maintenance checklist:

1. Don’t forget to back up critical data

Consider for a moment the PC, smartphone or laptop you are currently using at work. How much important business and customer data would you lose were something to happen to any of these pieces of hardware? Think about that for a second. Now, go and back up your data. And back up those back ups, like we did for Anya Hindmarch.  You should have regular, scheduled backups so that you can add any new data that has been generated to these backups at predetermined times. The reality is that computers and servers crash, USBs get lost and systems are hacked – backups should be at the top of your computer maintenance strategy.  

2. Updates and antivirus

Sound computer maintenance entails taking care of both software and hardware. Keeping tabs on your hardware and IT systems means installing virus protection and spyware detection software. It’s an unfortunate reality, but every computer or network that is connected to the internet needs some sort of security software to ensure that private business data is kept safe. These risk detection programs will run in the background but you should also make a habit of manually running a full scan for viruses and spyware every few weeks, or ensure that you have a team of professionals constantly monitoring your antivirus systems and security patches.

3. Keep things clean

Business needs change. As such, a program that did the job a few years ago may no longer make the grade. Each of these unused programs is taking up memory and processing power, which slows down your system. Deleting old programs makes room for new programs and speeds up your computer. Think of it as an IT spring cleaning. We suggest you audit your apps every three to six months. As part of this process, clean out any unnecessary information that is automatically saved by your computer’s operating systems and check for driver updates and software patches.

4. Literally, clean your computer

Cleaning the outside of your computer is just as important as keeping things tidy on the inside. Your computer is an efficient dust collector. A PC covered in dust traps heat, reducing the lifespan and affecting the performance of the device. Wipe exteriors down with a damp cloth or use compressed air to remove dust. Avoid using generic household cleaners as these can damage circuit boards. Also make sure that the cabling behind your computer is neat, because accidentally tugging on untidy cables can damage computer ports. To clean your keyboard just turn it over and gently bump it a few times. You’ll be amazed by all of the dirt and crumbs that fall out.

If you’ve never had a problem with your computer, you’re one of the fortunate few. Sound computer maintenance is essential for all companies looking to reduce the risk of costly downtime, protect sensitive corporate data and boost employee productivity.

Proper, 24/7 system and computer maintenance and good monitoring takes time and expertise. Find out more about our computer maintenance and monitoring offering to give you complete peace of mind.