Busy professionals rely on their computers and mobile devices to do business. Even one sudden glitch can seriously derail a businessperson’s day, getting in the way of completing work and potentially cutting off communication with customers. For that reason, it’s essential that professionals keep their technology in top shape at all times.

Protective Cases

From the day you purchase a new smartphone or tablet, a protective case should be in place. The best cases offer shock absorption while also protecting the screen by extending over it slightly. A glass screen protector will help keep your screen scratch free, while also protecting it from shattering during drops.

Line Up Emergency Tech Support

Your team relies on your equipment to be functional at all times. To avoid costly downtime, you’ll need an affordable tech support service that can provide rapid turnaround when you need it. A recent Staples survey found that guaranteed next-day service would be highly valued by a large majority of small businesses (76%). With Staples’ new Next Day Guarantee, PCs that are brought into a Staples before noon are serviced by 5pm the next day, or the repairs are free (some exclusions apply – see http://www.staples.com/techservices for more details).

In addition to troubleshooting issues with PCs and mobile devices, Staples Tech Services will also handle issues such as malware removal and PC tune-ups. Mobile repairs at select Staples stores include replacements for cracked screens, poor batteries, broken home buttons and more.The service can therefore keep your technology running at top performance, and also get you out of a jam if something fails. For more information on Staples Tech Services, visit www.staples.com/techservices.

If you take care of your devices, you’ll get many years of use out of them. In addition to protecting them with cases and screen protectors, you’ll also need to protect them against malware, which can damage your entire network if it makes its way into your systems through one of your devices. Following the right procedures will keep your hardware and software in working order, thus improving the reliability of your business technology.

Keep Software Updated

A recent Staples small business survey found that software and hardware installation is considered a challenge for many small businesses (16%) and two-thirds (65%) would find next day software or hardware upgrades valuable. And rightfully so! Software problems can actually render your devices unusable even quicker than hardware damage. To protect against malware and security breaches, your software should be updated regularly. This includes the definition updates for your antivirus software as well as your operating system, which has built-in protections against malware. Businesses with multiple pieces of equipment should make sure they update automatically rather than requiring administrators to manually update each device. And when in a bind, Staples Tech Services can help.

Educate Your Staff

Some of the biggest dangers faced by your organization relate to the behaviors of its employees. Poor password management policies can lead to outsiders guessing your system passwords and finding a way into your databases. Employees can also let malicious traffic in by clicking on links in email or on social media sites. Bring in a technology expert to train your staff on responsible technology use and make sure you sit in on the class, as well.

Keep It Clean

It can be easy to discount the importance of keeping your PCs and servers clean. Over the course of multiple months, dust can build up inside desktop units and servers and over time, that dust can cause components to work inefficiently. With a can of compressed air, cotton swabs, and a cleaning cloth, you can keep the internal workings of your computer clean over the years it’s in use.

Pay Extra for Quality

If you’re operating on a budget, as every business is, it can be tempting to opt for less expensive equipment, especially if you’re buying multiple items at once. However, less expensive devices can fail more quickly than some of the more expensive ones. You’ll be better off long term investing in high-quality equipment that will be reliable for many years.

Replace Aging Devices

No piece of equipment will last forever. If you wait until devices fail, you’ll be left scrambling to replace them during a busy workday. Instead of being reactive, set up a proactive plan to replace your equipment on a cycle. Some businesses find that replacing computers every four years is best, although mobile devices may need to be switched out more often. Upgrading technology is a smart investment. A recent Staples survey found technology issues are among the most problematic management concerns faced by small firms. A third of small businesses surveyed (33%) would spend an unexpected large cash infusion on technology and equipment. Look for incentives when it’s time to upgrade. Staples offers a technology trade-in, giving you a Staples eCash Card for your old devices. If your device no longer has value, Staples will recycle your old electronics for free. See www.staples.com/tradein for details.