August has arrived! Generally speaking, particularly when markets are cooperating, August is a quieter month for advisors. The children are still out of school, many clients are on vacation, and there aren’t any significant deadlines on the calendar—which gives advisors an opportunity to take a break also. However, there are a number of quick technology tasks that you should consider prior to hitting the road. If everything is in good order, these tasks should only take about 10 minutes each to complete.
Double check data security. It is always top of mind, and many tasks in this area require significant time and planning. However, one that you can do quickly is review user IDs and access credentials. Do you have any that are old and should be deleted? For example, have you stopped using a particular product or custodian, but your access credentials are still active? This might be necessary to access historical information, but remember to follow best practices and update your password and security questions.
Clean up your desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. How many apps and programs do you have on these devices that you no longer use? Have you stored any data locally that you don’t need anymore? Perhaps you downloaded a client report or saved a spreadsheet that no longer should be stored on the device. Just like cleaning out your garage at home, you should have a similar process for your devices. You might be surprised what you have retained, especially when you have used them for years. The performance of the device might also improve.
Check that your data back-up plan works. For many advisors, enjoying their vacation is partly accomplished by knowing everything is stable back at the office. You don’t want to have any “fire drills” occur while you are away. One way to provide a little assurance is to confirm your data back-up plan is working. Take a moment and review several files from multiple time periods that are stored on your external hard drive, cloud-based server or other back-up device.
Review your technology contracts. Frequently, advisors sign a contract and then don’t look at it again until they want to get out of the deal or the term expires. Regularly review your technology contracts and make sure you understand the terms of the deal and, more importantly, are being charged correctly. I have heard story after story from firms that were incorrectly charged for months because the individual paying the invoice didn’t understand the terms of the deal.