Springtime chores generally include a list of items that you didn’t get to during the busy first quarter, or those tasks you really want to get done before summer begins. Or maybe it’s a mix of both, along with items you rarely get around to, regardless the time of year. Here is a list of technology items that warrant the attention of all advisors, whether you are a technology power user or a neophyte.
Access Credential Details: You may have a long list of products and solutions that you regularly log into for conducting business. Take the time now to review your account profile details for these systems. Review and correct all information, including your email address, phone numbers, etc. It can be very frustrating when you are trying to resolve a log-in issue and the company has an old phone number or email address.
Anti-Virus Programs: Generally speaking, anti-virus software operates in the background and often does a full scan of your files overnight or over the weekend. This is a good set-up, but when was the last time you actually saw that the program had conducted a scan of your files? Perhaps you receive a report of the scanning results when it is complete, which is good. However, consider initiating the file scanning process manually every so often as well. Then you can directly confirm that it is working properly and you can review the process followed in scanning your computer files.
Computer Performance: Do you feel like your computer’s performance is slowing down? Several variables can cause this problem. Begin by reviewing the programs that are part of the computer’s “start-up” process. Are there programs in this group that do not need to be running each time that you use your computer? If yes, remove them from the group.
Also, take a look at all the programs installed on your computer and uninstall the programs that are no longer used. However, if you don’t recognize a program, don’t be too quick to remove it. Do some research first. It could be something that is necessary to support other important programs on your computer.
Partner/Vendor Relationships: Springtime is another opportunity to review the credential permissions and data access details for your outside partner relationships. Make sure everything is up to date and accurate.
Perhaps you have added new partner relationships, or are no longer doing business with other companies, or have reduced or expanded the work scope with another provider. Be critical of the specific details in these partner relationships, and avoid providing too much permission or data access beyond the requirements of the partner relationship.
IT Company Relationships: A good relationship with an IT company really can assist an advisory firm in running a smooth operation while protecting the overall technology infrastructure. The IT company should serve an active role in working with your firm and regularly produce reports that essentially detail the work that they are doing for your firm.
For example, take an inventory of all hardware (computers, servers, firewalls, etc) that the IT company maintains and supports for your firm. Details in the report could include warranty status, last software update on the device, estimated lifecycle, etc.
In addition, make sure that you understand any hardware within your firm that is not included in the IT company’s support. There could be a good reason for this, for example, perhaps it is a personal device used for business. But in such cases, understand who is ultimately responsible for supporting and protecting the device. Back-Up Files: Periodically confirming that your back-up process is working should always on be on your to-do list. Unfortunately, sometimes a simple hiccup can derail the whole back-up process. Therefore, double-check that the process is working, and review the data on the back-up system.
Dan Skiles is the president of Shareholders Service Group in San Diego. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.