Most of you have done or will do some traveling this summer. I was in Ohio for two weeks and in Mexico for one week. My technology worked flawlessly.
What about you? Will you be able to keep in touch with the office (shhh – do it at night when the kids are asleep) or finalize that big contract proposal, while you’re “away” from the office?
British IT company Conosco which advises small and medium sized businesses on their computing requirements has some tips to help you keep in IT shape while you’re away.
Don’t forget to pack your gadgets – don’t forget to add the essentials to your ‘must pack’ list, along with your passport, including phone charger, 3G dongle or card for laptop, waterproof neoprene laptop case and plug adapters.
Check that technology is travel-ready – you don’t want to end up poolside with a dead Internet connection. To make sure it really does work outside of the office (or home) go outside and test it before you leave (with Bermuda shorts on if you want to get into the holiday spirit!). Turn on your 3G connection and visit a news web site, check that you can see the latest information and not a cached page; then send and receive emails to both a friend and work colleague using a desktop email program (eg Outlook). Finally, open, edit and save a document from your office’s shared folder.
Go through security – laptops and phones are easily lost or stolen while traveling. Check passwords are complex enough (don’t write them down – if you have trouble remembering them, try Roboform or MobileMe for Apple); encrypt the hard drive on your laptop and set automatic screen locks on your laptop and smartphone; and don’t forget to pin-code your mobile phone.
Conosco’s Gladstone adds: “Most people are unaware of some of the fantastic applications around, for example if you lose your iPhone and have the latest 3.0 software, you can log into a website and see a Google Map of where it is.”
Poolside IT – the beautiful villa you’re staying at might have Wifi, but don’t trust it! For peace of mind, use a 3G adapter – it will work almost anywhere*. While doing laps in the pool, your laptop batteries will last even less time than the average British Summer, so turn down screen brightness and set it to blank after a minute idle. And, if you don’t want to be iPhoned-off by being woken up on your sun lounger every five minutes, turn off push email – plus your battery will last much longer.
Giving it large (but not on the dance floor!) – large documents are often too big for mobile connections. Use Google Docs to edit and store documents on a website, and try web-based services like NetSuite to see the latest sales figures, or Terminal Servers to access your office PC securely from anywhere in the world.
More detailed checklist is here.
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