Take Control of Your IT, Backups and the “Must Have” Windows 8 program – SBITS002

If you want to start to Take Control of Your IT, get some good solid backup tips, and find out what could potentially be the VERY best Windows 8 tip ever.

Then you’ve come to the right place!

Come on in, the water’s warm..  (because of the heater, not for anything else…  :P )

Site Audit

The key to starting to Take Control of Your IT, is to first KNOW what makes up your IT.

There’s that odd saying that goes “You don’t know, what you don’t know” and this rings true here.  How are you supposed to gain control of your IT, if you don’t know what’s in it??

The easiest why to find out what you have, is to do a Site Audit.  This is just a fancy name for a file that contains information about your Small Business’s IT.  To keep things super simple, this file should be broken down into 3 parts:

  1. Passwords  -  should contain every conceivable username and password related to your Small Business.  Website details, Dropbox login, email information, basically anything and everything that contains a username and or password, should live in this section.
  2. Hardware  -  should have information about each of the computers in your Small Business.  PCs, Macs, servers, printers, tablets etc.  You don’t need to get into Serial Number detail (unless you want to) and in the notes at the end of this post are a couple of handy links that will allow you to pull out the hardware (and software) information for your computers.
  3. Software  -  should have the product keys for any bits of software you may have purchased, retail or online.  Essentially, if you spend $1000 on Adobe software, the nice packaging and printed discs are probably worth $10 out of that $1000.  It’s the product key that’s worth the amount and so try and have a place to reference these very expensive mix of numbers, letters and symbols.  As mentioned, there are a couple of links below that will help you in pulling out that information from your computers.

So what are you waiting for?  Start your Site Audit document now!  (PS: there’s an example of a Site Audit template I use at the bottom of this post)

Backups

In reality, the one component of your Small Business IT that can get your fired, make you lose your service contract, and make you a very very unpopular human being.

The concept is simple really.  A backup is “a copy of the file(s) in a different location.”  That’s it!

Popular methods for Small Businesses include backing up to:

  • Tape.  Expensive, slow, limited capacity to expand if you reach the limits of the tape, that can be a hassle to test backups and restores.
  • USB Hard Drives & Sticks.  Quite cheap, fast, easy to upgrade, and quite easy to test backups and restores
  • Another PC or NAS.  Rather expensive, fast, and quite easy to test backups and restores
  • The cloud.  A little expensive, fast, and very easy to test backups and restores.

My recommendations?  The cloud, followed by USB Drives and sticks.  A combination of both is what I personally use with Dropbox being my cloud solution (links below) and Synctoy (again, linked below), a program I use to copy from my main machine to a rather hefty USB drive. 

Windows 8 Ultimate tip!

I have 2 words and a link that will make all of you Windows 8 users 10 times as productive! (based on personal experience, your results may vary).

“Classic Shell”

In short, this will bring back your Windows Start Button!  Nuff Said!

Linkage:

Links for Site Audits

The Spreadsheet I use for Site Audits

Belarc – Free (for Personal Use) hardware and software auditing tool

Free PC Audit Tool – Pretty much says what it does  :)  Free for Personal and Commericial Use

Links for Backups

Dropbox – Cloud based storage service that can also be used to back files up

Synctoy – Simply Windows tool that allows you to easily copy the contents of one (or multiple) folders to other folders.

Link for Windows 8 program

Classic Shell – Cool little program that restores the Start Button (or shell) back to any Windows 8 PCs.

dEx

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