Effective, efficient computer management is as easy as learning your ABCs. Here's everything you need to know:
A: Anti-virus. It's best to use a cloud-hosted anti-virus solution that constantly references a dynamically updated virus pattern file.
B: Backup. Best practice computer management policies list data backup as a top priority. An automated, online, off-site, encrypted data backup routine is the safest, most reliable way to back up.
C: Computer management. Computer management itself encompasses a range of aspects including mobile devices - laptops, tablets and smartphones - and devices that are used in the business process but are not always connected to the corporate domain. Your computer management policy must be able to cater for multiple scenarios. Read more about the benefits of remote IT support here.
D: Device control. Effective computer management policies let managers and directors 'lock' selected devices and by doing so deny users the capability to copy corporate data to removable and portable devices - and then take the data off-site without permission.
E: Efficient and easy to manage. Cloud-hosted computer management solutions are easy to deploy, require minimal device footprint and can be accessed and used remotely from any location at any time.
F: Facebook. Social media websites are often the biggest culprits of productivity loss. Ensure that your computer management policy includes the ability to block productivity killers.
G: Granular visibility. Ensure that your computer management solution allows your IT manager to instantly and easily generate reports depicting complete IT inventory status across the network, thus enabling you to see the hardware configuration of every device as well as what software is installed on every computer.
H: Hosted solutions. The 'cloud' is truly with us! Computer management should now be a hosted in the cloud solution.
I: Identify theft. Identity theft is a very scary reality if your network and device is not properly protected. Read more about identity theft and the consequences here.
J: Junk mail. It's worse than the old 'snail mail' that piled up in your mailbox ever was. Junk mail often includes a devastating payload that infiltrates and damages a corporate network if even a single user inadvertently opens a malevolent email message.
K: Keep up to date. Operating system 'patches' and software updates are often released to counter a security access risk. Effective computer management facilities allow you to easily automate updates and patch deployment across an entire organisation to ensure that hardware and software is secure and up to date.
L: Liability. Unfettered access to unauthorised websites with the associated risk of infection and damage can expose your company to legal issues involving the spread of malware to customers, reputational damage and potential defamatory activity.
M: Manage remotely. Effective cloud-hosted remote control gives you the ability to spend more time strategically managing and planning growth and efficiencies.
N: Non-intrusive diagnostics. Computer management utilities that require user interaction initially and subsequently mean that users can't carry on working whilst maintenance is underway. This is very disruptive. Modern cloud-based management tools create an environment that is completely non-disruptive to end users.
O: Operational efficiency. If you're an IT support professional, why struggle with a management tools that limits you to supporting a single device or client at a time? Today's great cloud-based remote support tools allow multiple support sessions to run concurrently, thus giving you the ability to do more with less.
P: Pro-active patch management. Computer management tools that enable automatic central deployment of operating system patches create a pro-active environment that massively cuts incidents of user downtime and subsequent 'fire-fighting' as many issues are actually prevented when systems are up to date.
Q: Quick. Remote management is instant, eliminates travel time and associated costs and frustrations - and results in delighted customers!
R: Reports. Constant system improvement can only be achieved by tracking trends and eliminating the recurring issues highlighted by trend tracking. Proper computer management must include a reporting component that allows trends to be identified.
S: Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Torrent download sites, XXX content websites - these are all major contributors to reduced productivity, lack of focus and potentially damaging scenarios. Cloud-hosted computer management utilities enable effective web filtering to deny access to damaging and unauthorized web browsing. Read more about this here.
T: Trace stolen IT assets. Many companies use multiple portable devices that are easily misplaced or stolen, exposing companies to the risk of confidential data being accessed as well as the cost of replacing devices. Cloud-hosted management tools usually include location-based services that enable misplaced devices to be tracked and either blocked and 'wiped clean' or recovered.
U: Unhappy users? It makes perfect sense: users who are unable to work and have to wait hours for a support agent to fight through traffic to get on-site will perpetually be unhappy. This is no longer necessary; remote computer management and support tools allow instant support and resolution within minutes, thus completely changing user perception of IT support.
V: Video. South Africa generally has poor and contended bandwidth. Many employees don't have internet access at home and use the corporate network access to download videos that they can watch at home. This can slow your internet access and result in a loss of productivity. Ensure that your computer management utility allows you to block video downloads during working hours.
W: Web-based console. Support agents are no longer tethered to an office-based network or a non-portable device. Need to manage a client device using your tablet whilst at a conference in Alaska? No problem: modern computer management is conducted through a browser on any internet connected device.
X: XXX content-based websites. XXX content-based websites are pervasive and addictive to many. Unfettered access can have potentially disastrous consequences to corporations. Effective computer management must enable you to filter and block access to undesirable categories of sites.
Y: Your time. With efficient management, you will have more of it.
Z: It's a zoo out there! Make sure that there are no rogue wild animals roaming your corporate network.