Look, nobody is perfect. And if you’re not an IT professional, you are bound to make a couple of mistakes when it comes to your tech.
With many years spent helping clients with their technology, I have seen it all. And it still amazes me how many different ways there are to wreck a device.
So today, we’re going over 5 of the most common computer mistakes and how to avoid making them in the first place.
Mistake 1: Failure to Backup Data
There are many reasons for data loss. Some of the most common include accidental deletion, hard disk failure, and viruses.
If you lost your data right this second, would you have backup copies of all your important documents? If the answer is no, then you need to have a solid backup strategy.
That rock-solid backup strategy needs to mitigate the ever-present threat of data loss. You can do this in several different ways. For example, you can save your data to an external hard drive. Likewise, you can use a cloud storage service or a network drive.
But if you go the cloud route, make sure your cloud has its own backup strategy in place.
Mistake 2: Not Keeping Essential Software Up-to-Date
Software companies roll out new updates for serval reason. The main ones include new features, fixing bugs, and patching security loopholes. Failure to update your software leaves you more vulnerable to security breaches.
This one is easy. To prevent falling behind on updates, you update software with regularity.
If you’re operating on Windows, the best way to ensure you do not forget to update is to turn automatic updating on.
Also, schedule your antivirus to check for updates once a day. That may sound like a lot, but the reality is that new threats are emerging all the time. Once a new threat emerges, your antivirus needs to receive an update on how to protect you from that threat. So the more you update, the safer you’ll be.
If you’re a small business, I also recommend you have a patch management policy in place. A patch management policy is a process of handling all the updates within a company’s network. These include patches for routers, firewalls, servers, operating systems, etc.
In the best cases, this type of policy will assess, install, test, and document every patch.
Mistake 3: Opening Phishing Emails
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending bogus emails. These emails try to trick us to sharing our personal information, like passwords and credit card numbers.
With that said, you should never download an attachment from a source that you don’t know and trust. That attachment could contain malware.
The best defense against phishing attacks is a spam filter. But sometimes, phishing emails will make it to the inbox even with protection.
Phishing attacks are becoming more difficult to spot, so you must be vigilant. To learn how to spot a phishing email, check out this blog post.
Mistake 4: Ignoring Warnings that Disk Space is Full
Running out of storage space will cause problems in everything you try to do. Your device will be slow, unstable, and start crashing.
The easy fix for lack of storage is to start deleting files you don’t need. But before you hit that delete button, verify that you don’t need that file.
But let’s say that deleting unneeded files isn’t enough, what do you do? Well, there are a couple of options out there.
You could consider archiving older files to an external hard drive. Once those files are on the external hard drive, you can delete them from your machine.
You could also store files in a cloud or network to save local storage space.
Mistake 5: Unsafe Web Practices
Whenever you use the Internet, you should consider what information you’re giving away about yourself.
You should also be cautious of links and advertisements because they make good hiding places for malware.
A firewall is the first line of defense against intruders. Often when talking about firewalls, we only think about the technical ones.
But as a computer user, you are your first line of defense against threats.
So, what does that mean? You can become your own human firewall. That means don’t open websites that appear suspicious. You should also never open a link or advertisement unless you know who it’s from and where it’s going.
Do the same on social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Again, these links and ads could contain malicious viruses.
Before I wrap up this section, a little disclaimer. You becoming a human firewall isn’t enough to protect your computer. So, not only do you need a technical firewall, but you need to practice safe web procedures.
Are you guilty of any of these common computer mistakes? Don’t fret. The best way to avoid mistakes in the future is to educate yourself on IT best practices. To make sure you stay informed, feel free to sign up for our monthly newsletter: