Opinion

Taking care of your Laptop

Regular maintenance of IT infrastructure is vital for SMBs to keep their business running smoothly. Endpoint devices like laptops should be kept safe and protected from any harm that compromises the productivity of the business. While keeping the integrity of hardware and software solutions falls on the hands of IT managers, this is never too hard to personally manage. Below are practical tips that can help SMBs reduce total cost of ownership, generate productivity and increase proficiency.
Cleaning the laptop
You should occasionally clean your laptop. Do not use a rough cloth to clean it. Use a soft line-free cloth moistened with non-alkaline detergent to wipe the exterior of the laptop. Spray a small amount onto a cloth and then clean. Do not spray cleaner directly on the Display or Keyboard. Gently wipe the LCD with a dry, soft line-free cloth if a stain remains, moisten the cloth with LCD cleaner and wipe the stain again. Be sure to dry the LCD before closing it.
Data Protection
Never write down or leave access numbers or passwords in the carrying case. If a laptop is stolen, immediately do the following: report the theft to the local police and to Corporate Security; if customer data was on the laptop, contact your manager; change the password associated with the corporate user ID and if you can’t, contact your helpdesk for assistance.
Download the Latest Antivirus, Antispyware, and Firewall Software
For maximum security, ensure that the latest antivirus software is loaded and running on your laptop. Also, you will want to make sure the firewall on your computer is turned on. You can visit http://www.microsoft.com/spyware for more information on spyware and links to some of the spyware scanners that are available for download.
Get the Latest Software Updates
Regularly keeping your laptop up-to-date with the latest software updates will maximize efficiency. For Microsoft® Windows®, go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. For other software, go to the manufacturers’ Web sites. 
Use Encryption
Use the Encrypted File System (EFS) on all folders containing sensitive corporate or customer information. To use this, your computer must be using a NTFS file system.
Back Up Your Data
Back up all data that is sensitive or cannot be easily replaced. Back up data to a safe location on the corporate network. After confirming a successful backup, delete all data—both corporate and customer related—that is not essential for the job being performed. Be sure to empty the Recycle Bin as part of the process.

Use Strong Passwords
Use a strong password on all local accounts, especially the Administrator Password. Use a strong password on your Exchange personal folder (pst) file. Do not select the Save this password in your password list check box.
Use a Password-Protected Screen Saver
Use a password-protected screen saver set to activate after a maximum of 15 minutes of inactivity.

Disable Dial-Up Networking Password
Disable the Save password option in Dial-Up Networking.

Store Removable Hard Drive
If the laptop has a removable hard drive, disengage it from the rest of the device and store it in a separate, secure location.

Write Down Asset Information
Record the laptop serial number, asset number and model number in a safe place.
 

Tips to ensure laptops are running smoothly

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