5 Tricks/Tools Every Small IT Business Should Be Using

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Nov 2015
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Author : Pete Peranzo

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When running a small business you want to save as much time as you can while maximizing your productivity. Fortunately, this is easier to do now with a plethora of tools available at our disposal.

If you are an IT business that wants to take things a notch higher, you might want to give some of these tools consideration. They aren’t difficult to find or learn, but may not be common knowledge either. Here are some suggestions based on tricks and tools that have helped us save time, cut costs, and improve the overall efficiency of our business.

  1. Have a very fast system to upload to your cloud storage

Uploading data to cloud can be an expensive and time-consuming process, depending on the amount and type of data you want to upload. You don’t want to lose hours, or even days, waiting for your precious data to successfully be pushed up to the cloud.

Making use of a service such as Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) is a super-fast and cost-effective way of moving your business to the cloud as you don’t have to invest in infrastructure for data migration.  For example, you if you need to download VS 2013 from MSDN and want to store it on your box account, you would do both the download and upload from the EC2 instance and this would most likely save you a big chunk of time (how much time would depend on your personal internet speed).   It provides secure and scalable computing capacity in the cloud and sports an interface simple enough for you to be able to use with minimal hassle.

Other hosting companies such as Serverpronto are other great ways that will give you a reliable and fast way to move your data to cloud without burning a hole in your pocket.

  1. Use a tool like AutoHotkey to increase productivity

Get more done in fewer keystrokes with Windows automation scripting languages such as AutoHotkey or AutoIt, both of which are easy to learn if you have programming experience. Repetitive tasks on the computer can majorly bog us down and all those keystrokes can amount to a sizeable loss of time over the course of a week or a month. Thankfully, there’s a way out.

Whichever tasks you find yourself doing repeatedly, set up shortcuts for them with the help of tools like AutoHotkey, AutoIt (automates the Windows GUI), Macro Express, and FastKeys. You can also open specific or your most accessed folders with the tap of a key (I use WindowsKey+W to open my “Workspace Folder”), open websites with a keystroke, automate installation of applications, or shut down your computer with just one command; your imagination is your friend here.

  1. Learn PowerShell for greater control over admin tasks

Why stop at automating keyboard shortcuts when you can automate entire admin tasks? PowerShell is a Windows program that allows you greater control over the OS, which, as a system administrator, is exactly what you want to maximize the efficiency of your network.

PowerShell consists of a “command-line shell and associated scripting language built on the .NET framework” and helps system administrators to “perform administrative tasks on local as well as remote computers.”

Here are just a few things you can do with PowerShell that should have you thinking seriously about familiarizing yourself with the tool.

  • Kill tasks that are slowing down the system and which you are unable to stop via Task Manager
  • Move tasks to the background
  • View USB devices installed on the entire network
  • Make changes on computers remote as well as local. These may include changing date and time, accessing remote files and folders, and making administrative changes.

It is also very accessible, if you are using a modern Windows OS it is installed by default, to see for yourself simply click the start button and simply type powershell.

  1. Make use of dual monitor taskbar

Most IT pros work with more than one computer screen on your desktop to facilitate viewing multiple windows, you will appreciate each of those screens displaying a taskbar so that you can tell at a glance which windows are open on which screen. A dual monitor taskbar is a handy application that saves time and eliminates confusion by neatly indicating windows that are open on each screen. You can further set this utility to display in the taskbar all the windows that are open across screens or only those that pertain to each screen.

  1. Improve your CMS(WordPress) Security

Take stock of all the potential security risks your website faces and bring in place a plan to deal with each of them. Plugins such as iThemes Security will assist in locking down the CMS instances.

Some of the things you can do right away:

  • Opt for an unusual username and a complex password. The easier your login credentials are to guess (for instance, similar to your name or the name of your website), the higher the chances of someone hacking your website.
  • Keep up with WordPress updates to minimize the chances of your website getting infected with malware.
  • Bots have a habit of showing up repeatedly. Have your visitors enter CAPTCHA phrases to ensure your website gets the visitors you actually want.
  • Tend to spam messages promptly.
  • Use a 3rd party Hosting provider who specializes in hosting and securing specific CMS’s, for example Pagely.

 

In Conclusion

All the little somethings end up making a considerable difference to a business in the long run. If you have any tips or tricks of your own that save time and improve the ease of doing work, please leave a comment and let us know.

 

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