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For many businesses, life slows down considerably between mid December and mid January. And whilst you’ll no doubt want to spend some time with your feet up, it’s also a great time to get some essential IT housekeeping tasks done. By taking care of a few simple tasks now, you can get your IT systems and processes in great shape to kick start the New Year.

So what does IT housekeeping actually involve? In this article, we look at some of the most important jobs to consider and how to go about them.

  1. Take stock of what you’ve got

A good place to start is to go round the office listing out all your IT devices and associated equipment. That includes phone systems, printers, routers, switches and cables as well as servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Whilst you’re at it, take a little time to tidy up trailing cables and move any items that are getting in the way or blocking fire exits.

Next, carry out the same exercise with your software and applications. If you already have an inventory management system, update it with the latest information. Most of your IT equipment will count as assets to be included in your accounts, so if you don’t have a stock-keeping system in place, now’s the time to implement one.

  1. Out with the old, in with the new

Your second task is to compare what you’ve got with what you actually need. For example, if your business is growing quickly, you’ll probably need to invest in new IT systems and software sooner rather than later. On the other hand, you may have identified items during the stock-take that are no longer used and could be disposed of.

Other areas to consider include:

  • Are you running any obsolete or unsupported systems that need upgrading, such as Windows Vista or Office 2007?
  • Are all your software licences up to date? And are all the licences you’re paying for being used? If not, you could save money by cancelling the ones you don’t need?
  • Is your IT security adequate for your needs? Should you be investing in higher grade anti-virus or more powerful firewalls?
  • Is your backup process reliable? If the worst happens, would you be able to restore your data quickly and easily?
  • What new systems or software could you invest in to make your business more efficient and productive in 2018, or to reduce your IT spend and printing costs?
  1. Bring your paperwork up to date

This job covers a range of areas including device and software user manuals; computer use and IT security policies; social media policy; and your Disaster Recovery Plan. Have a good read through all your documentation and bring it up to date where required. If user manuals are out of date due to system upgrades, you may be able to find the latest versions online or request them from the vendor.

If any of your documentation is missing, or has never been done, take the opportunity to put it in place. Our articles on creating a Disaster Recovery Plan and a computer use and IT security policy will help you decide what to include.

  1. Get ready for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This task also involves paperwork, as you’ll need to review your Data Protection policy in preparation for the new rules coming into play in May 2018. You’ll also need to consider how you collect, use and store client data to make sure you comply with the much more stringent regulations. So take a close look at your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and database systems to make sure they’re fit for purpose.

You’ve already reviewed your backup and IT security systems in step 2 and policies in step 3, but it won’t hurt to take a little more time to double-check they’re in line with GDPR requirements. This is important as the new regulations require businesses to assess, test and control their security practices and risks.

A third area to consider is access control. Look at which team members have access to which systems, and revoke access to confidential data where this isn’t required to carry out their duties. Remember to include temporary members of staff and contractors in this task. And delete usernames and accounts for anyone who no longer works for you.

  1. Think about training needs

Whilst this isn’t a true IT housekeeping task, it goes hand in hand with assessing your IT requirements and investing in new systems or software. So sit down with your team members and identify what training they need now and in the New Year to help them work as effectively and productively as possible.

Don’t just make it about you, though – it’s a great opportunity to discuss their general career progression through IT skills development.

Need support with your IT housekeeping?

Let Jalapeno Business Services help. With our management and mentoring services, we can take care of your IT housekeeping tasks and provide ongoing support into the New Year. Get in touch today and let’s get the ball rolling with a FREE systems audit.