Woman blowing dandellions

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and Spring is in the air. As you begin dusting off the proverbial cobwebs of winter (and the real ones around the house and the office…) it’s the perfect time to jump into some spring cleaning of your technology, too! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Get Physical!

A great place to start your spring cleaning is the physical hardware and equipment that make up your business technology. 

  • Grab a can of compressed air and literally blow out the dust from your computers, servers, and network equipment. Dust buildup causes these systems to build up excess heat and drastically decreases their life span. Reminder: Properly shut down and unplug power before doing this to any of your devices.
  • Turn your keyboard upside down and shake out all the nasty crumbs and debris. Your keyboard is another essential spot to get after it with that can of compressed air.
  • Clean the surfaces of your keyboard, mouse, and monitors. For your keyboard and mouse, use distilled water and a clean paper towel. For a computer or laptop screen, use a little bit of distilled water with a microfiber cloth to clean off smudges, while being careful not to apply much pressure or you can damage it. Make sure the screen is powered off and cool to the touch to avoid damaging it.
Person using a can of compressed air to clean dust from a computer system

Purge, Purge, Purge

Spring is the perfect time to declutter your digital space and say “good riddance!” to anything that is not serving you or your business needs any longer.

  • Declutter your desktop – look at all of those icons and determine what’s still necessary and what’s not. File them into appropriate folders on your server or cloud storage.
  • Purge your downloads folder – chances are you don’t need anything in there anyways!
  • Clear your browsing history and cache – this will help your browser run faster.
  • Be a Wizard! – Press Windows Key + R, type “cleanmgr” to run a built-in Windows disk space cleanup wizard.
  • Say “See Ya” to old software – Go to Control Panel > Add / Remove programs and uninstall any old software that you no longer use.
  • Free up your taskbar – Never use the search bar down at the bottom of the screen? How about Cortana? Right click on them and deselect them from the popup menu to gain space back.

Get Secure For Spring

Look around your office space… what can you do in your physical environment to clean up and improve your security?

  • Step one is to remove any passwords or usernames written down on paper, and move them to a password manager instead.
  • Drowning in paper files, invoices, old bills, or purchase orders? Scan and save any paperwork you need to keep as digital files on your server or cloud storage. Then, grab the nearest paper shredder and go to town! Shredding old paperwork is an important step in keeping your business information safe and secure. 
  • Consider labeling your office equipment with special tags that carry your company logo and a unique inventory identifier. These identification labels can act as important tools to increase office security. This creates a quick ID database that makes it easy to stay on top of all the important devices on which your business relies.

Tackle Your Inbox

How does your inbox look these days? It’s easy to let the emails pile up in your inbox but it can feel really good and improve your efficiency to create other folders for these emails to live in more permanently. This helps to keep your inbox as truly that – a space for new incoming mail to be further addressed and organized.

  • Make folders according to as many or as few categories and subcategories make sense to you, and start organizing your emails accordingly. “Inbox Zero” doesn’t have to be the goal – just start small with a few folders and you might notice how much mental space you’ve already cleared up by organizing your email interface.
  • Empty that Spam! – Go through your Spam, Trash and Promotions folders and do a bulk cleaning of anything you don’t need anymore. A great rule of thumb: if it’s older than 6 months and you haven’t further addressed, organized or filed it in another folder, chances are you don’t need it.
  • Update your Signature and Out of Office Reply – make sure your contact information is current, your logo is not a broken file,  or showing up as a weird attachment, and your links are working. While you’re at it, why not freshen up your auto reply for vacation days?

Test Your Backups and Evaluate Storage Needs

Spring can be the perfect reminder that it’s time to inspect and refresh your data backup solution. Backups should be checked regularly, and if it’s been a long time do not put it off any longer!  Avoid waiting until you need the backup files to make sure that your systems are working and keeping your business fail-safe!

At the same time, reevaluate your overall storage needs. Your data backup storage may be almost full, in which case this is a great time to start cleaning, or to look at upgrading your data backup and recovery solution.  We can help with this!

Recycle Your Old Hardware

Did you upgrade some of your devices this year? If you are hanging onto equipment you no longer need, consider donating it to a local organization. This is a win-win situation: you clean up your office and help someone else in your community too. Many hardware manufacturers also offer recycling programs if donation isn’t an option.

Be sure to clear all data when recycling or donating hardware (some industries are required to do this and obtain a certificate, such as healthcare and compliance-based businesses) but it is a smart idea for any business to remove all data before clearing out hardware.

You’re Not Alone. We’re Here to Help!

Business technology spring cleaning can be quite the undertaking! If you feel overwhelmed thinking about taking on extra tasks while still running your business, we are here to help. Sparrow Tech offers IT Support & Services to help you tackle your critical projects, including technology spring cleaning. No matter what your technology cleaning needs are, our experienced team can help. Contact us today to learn more.