Overhauling your IT is a big step, however, and one that’s likely to throw up all sorts of issues. Here then are a few tips on how to fix the most common IT issues you might experience in the workplace, helping you to build towards a better approach to business technology.
“My computer is running slowly.”
Windows isn’t inherently slow any more than MacOS is inherently fast; it’s all about how good your workstation is. There are three key components of a PC that dictate how fast it will run – the CPU (the ‘brain’), the hard drive (long-term storage), and the RAM (temporary storage).
A better CPU is a big upgrade, but also has the biggest impact on overall system performance. RAM is most useful for people who are multitasking, such as having lots of windows or tabs open at once. However, the easiest way to give your workstations a speed boost is to install a solid-state drive (SSD).
This fast storage is rapidly falling in price with the advent of even newer technologies and will help your system files and apps to load at blazing speeds. With almost all computer cases made in the last decade possessing an SSD bay, this is probably the most sensible upgrade for ageing workstations. Just be aware that, to make best use of it, you will need to reinstall your operating system and software on it – something that will depend on the nature of your commercial software license agreements.
“People can’t hear/see me on Zoom calls.”
A common issue in the age of remote working is having trouble dialling into meetings. This is often just an issue of lacking familiarity with the software. However, there are also hardware improvements you can make that could resolve issues and allow you to appear on Zoom in a more professional manner.
If people cannot hear or see you at all, the first thing to check is your audio and video settings. When you join a meeting, you’ll see two icons in the bottom left corner, one for Audio and one for Video. Simply clicking on one of these should activate or deactivate the audio or video, respectively. If this doesn’t work, click on the small arrow next to these icons. This will show you a list of the audio and video inputs on your computer.
What often happens is that Zoom automatically selects the last device you used, rather than the one you want to use now. For instance, if you’ve plugged in headphones recently but want to use your speakers, Zoom may still be stuck on headphones. Click on the name of the source in the drop-down list that you want to use – this will normally include ‘Speakers’ or ‘Headphones’ for audio, and ‘Webcam’ for video.
If you’re just having trouble with audio or video quality, there are a number of solutions. Sometimes this is down to Internet speeds and reliability, but it’s often a hardware issue. A range of good value external microphones and webcams exist which can be a drastic improvement on those built into laptops or tablets, such as the Blue Snowball and Logitech C920. An ideal option may be a good quality headset, which includes a microphone and stops the echo from your speakers being picked up.
“My files are stuck on another device.”
With employees increasingly working remotely and across devices, it can be hard to keep track of files, and aggregate changes in the same place. Oftentimes, people may end up with files on a laptop, USB stick or even phone that they have to transfer to your company’s internal network – but they don’t know the best way of going about this.
This is more important to address than you might think. Plugging devices directly into business computers is extremely risky, as it has the potential to unleash viruses that could cripple your network and lead to your data being compromised.
Cloud storage is a way to separate your internal network from the storage of other files and documents. Instead of having to bring files to work in order to transfer them, employees can use their browser or an app to save files straight to the Cloud. With apps such as Google Sheets, these documents can even be edited simultaneously by multiple users, showing their changes in real time.
An alternative option is to provide secure remote access to your local network. There are numerous secure applications that can enable this, including Microsoft RDP, TeamViewer and PC Anywhere. This is ideal if you already have a complex local network infrastructure with lots of files that would be difficult to relocate. However, you should still ensure that all of the files on your network are backed up in case of hardware failure, ideally to the Cloud.
While the solutions to these common IT problems are often simple, it’s harder to execute them at scale, and get everyone onto the same page. By working with either your in-house IT department or an external IT service provider, you can comprehensively plan these changes, and benefit from their knowledge and support. With planning and a small amount of investment, you can ensure that these simple problems have equally simple solutions.
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