As a new year (and a new decade - eek) fast approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the celebrations and forget about your business IT.
You deserve a break, but before you shut down your PC, there are a few things you can do to make sure your transition into 2020 runs as smoothly as possible.
We've rounded up some things to tick off your to-do list before the clock strikes midnight.
Check up on your backups.
Backups require regular maintenance because sometimes things just don't work the way you planned.
What if your backups fail and no one notices? The next time you need to recover files, they might be missing.
When verifying your backup, you should look to see if the time and contents are correct, that each backup has finished and that you can successfully restore any data written during the backup.
You should be doing this at least once per month, all year round. But a final check before the end of the year never hurt anybody.
Set your out of office reply.
If you're winding down for the Christmas holidays, don't forget to set your out of office auto-reply to let clients know that you're not available.
Of course, this is more customer-relationship focused rather than a technical tip, but it can save you having to sift through hundreds of emails when you return to your desk in the new year.
Why not go one step further and personally tell your customers when you'll be taking a break?
Give them plenty of warning and include it in your email signature in the weeks running up to the 25th.
Secure your mobile devices.
Even if you're not planning on working over the holiday season, you'll likely need to check in with emails and updates via a mobile phone or tablet.
Meanwhile, while many offices shut down, their employees take work home with them on their laptops.
Make sure any device that's going to be used for work purposes outside of the office is properly secure and that your team is taking the right security precautions to reduce the risk of a data breach.
We've written a couple of guides on boosting your security when you work remotely:
Chase late payments.
There's always one, right?
The end of the year is a brilliant time to remind any customer who hasn't squared up their invoices from this year.
If you use digital accounting software, you'll be able to easily track late payers and send the culprit(s) a gentle reminder to cough up.
With some software, you can also see who's notoriously late. If you've got a client who puts off paying every month, maybe it's time to set them up a direct debit via GoCardless or Stripe?
Take a look at our blog on how to deal with late-paying clients here.
Outline goals for 2020.
Get cracking straight away in January by highlighting your goals for the new year now. Think about what worked well for your business in 2019, as well as what didn't quite go as planned.
Doing this gives you a solid idea of the areas you may need to work on over the next twelve months.
The next step is to jot down the actionable steps you can take to make these goals happen in 2020.
Here are some examples:
Encourage more collaboration amongst your team ➡︎ Switch to Office 365
Save money and time maintaining on-site servers ➡︎ Swich to the cloud
Reduce your risk of a cyber attack ➡︎ Invest in high-quality software, update cybersecurity policies, look into cybersecurity training.