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Small Business Computers Need Special Care

I have years of experience keeping small businesses running. The requirements are different from computers in the home.

Business computers do not need to be powerful or expensive. Home entertainment and games usually require faster machines.

Office productivity can often be improved by simple upgrades. For example, now that LCD monitors are cheap, several of my clients have two on each desk.

Business computers need to be very reliable and well protected from spyware, malware, and viruses. There are five main things:

Backups

Your computer can go bad without warning at any time. In fact, the hard disk that holds all your data is the hardware part most likely to fail. So do backups frequently. The easiest backup tool is a miniature USB flash drive. These are tiny devices that can fit on a keychain. Also called “thumb drives”, “jump drives”, “memory sticks”. More about these later.

If Your Computer is More than 3 to 5 Years Old…

Then it is too old to use to earn your living or for serious college work. The internal components are not designed to survive longer than 5 years. They are obsolete at that point anyway.

The parts that usually fail first are the hard disk and the fans, because they have moving parts. When fans fail, electronic parts overheat and fail.

Backups are essential if you care about your data.
Also, any 5 year old computer will be very slow compared to a new one

Don’t Share Your Computer

If you use your computer for work or business, or college coursework, don’t let your kids or guests use it. Trouble is practically guaranteed. Young kids will mess up your computer because they don’t know what they are doing. Older kids will mess it up because they do know enough to be dangerous.

Computers are cheap enough and your work is worth protecting.

Watch for Warning Signs

Hardware and software components of computers do some self-diagnosis, and provide warnings of some kinds of failures. Unfortunately, we are used to seeing warnings all the time, so it takes skill to know what to pay attention to.

Use Appropriate Security Software

A commercial "Internet Security" suite of software that is configured and updated regularly is our protection against viruses, spyware, malware, and spam. It's not perfect, but it will stop most attacks. Those are far more likely to damage your computer than normal hardware failures.

A Small Business Server computer can be very useful to integrate e-mail, address lists, and documents. It can effortlessly automate backups. It can allow efficient and secure access to your business from home or on the road. I can determine whether this might benefit your business.