It’s a frustration we’ve all experienced. A computer, phone or tablet starts getting slow. Sometimes it happens way too soon. Other times we’re trying to hold onto ancient tech because we don’t want to spend money on new stuff. In any case, there are always things we can do before we commit to purchasing hardware. These five tips can help you address performance issues without spending a penny on equipment.
Perform a Bandwidth Audit
Any network administrator can perform this task, and it’s typically a part of the job description. The audit will identify peaks and valleys in daily bandwidth consumption. This can help you better schedule tasks that are known to eat bandwidth or cause downtime. Updates are a good example.
Aside from noticing trends that can help you better manage the business, a bandwidth audit can also identify problematic devices. When one is found, you can perform the rest of these tips to help optimize its performance and prevent it from impacting the entire network.
Perhaps more importantly, the bandwidth audit can often identify problematic practices. As much as we all like to think the best of our employees, good people fall into temptation, and it’s pretty normal to find one or more people doing things they shouldn’t with work devices or on a work network. If and when you find such a case, how you handle it is up to you, but remember that the network administrator can throttle access to specific sites or apps if necessary. One way or another, you can ensure that unprofessional practices aren’t hurting your overall performance.
Perform a Device Audit
A device audit is distinct from a bandwidth audit. Rather than trying to figure out where the network traffic is going, a device audit is simply an attempt to ascertain how many and what kinds of devices are interacting in your greater system. This is especially important for BYOD (bring your own device) businesses, but pretty much every office has employees with personal phones on them. If these phones ever connect to your network — especially behind a firewall or VPN — it’s important to know about them.
The device audit can help you identify threats to the network. It can help you find nodes that are bottlenecking traffic. It can also help you find problematic devices (similar to the bandwidth audit) and either fix them or remove them from the system. Mostly, a device audit gives your IT team a better understanding of exactly what they’re managing. That should never hurt their ability to do their jobs well.
Perform a Software Audit
Three audits?! There might be a theme here. The best way to find cost-effective ways to improve performance is to know exactly what you’re up against. The software audit is the third leg of the tripod. It tells you when and where you can cut performance killing software. If you’re paying a license to use the software, this can save you money on both ends.
Large-scale software audits should probably be done about quarterly to make sure you aren’t wasting money on big purchases, but a software audit can also be performed on an individual device. If one of the previous audits found a problem child, a software audit is the next logical step. You can search for resource hogs, memory leaks and general excess that will slow the device or even render it unusable. The audit tells you exactly what you can turn off or remove to dramatically improve performance without spending a dime on hardware.
And, since everyone says is, don’t forget about software updates. They really are that important.
Adjust Individual Settings
The software audit helped you clean out a little garbage on the device, but you aren’t done yet. Regardless of model or operating system, there are settings you can adjust to squeak a little more performance out of the device. A few of the biggest settings to remember are virtual memory and graphics processing. All modern devices use virtual memory, and you can adjust that allocation to make things run better. Not all devices will have dedicated graphics processing, but the ones that do can see massive performance boosts if you optimize those settings.
Most operating systems have automated optimization as well. They also give resource allocation a treatment and can help an older device extend its working life.
Lastly, you can remove excess data. It’s not exactly a setting, but since you’re tweaking a troubled device, dumping data you don’t need is usually a good idea. Full hard drives are among the most frequent sources of slowdowns.
Explore Continued Learning
This is fairly universal to business in general. You want your employees to always get better at what they do, and continued learning is important in achieving that. Helping your non-tech personnel better understand their devices can go a long way. They can learn how to tweak some settings to keep things running sharply every day. They can also be trained on warning signs and best practices that improve network security and prevent some of the larger problems you don’t want to think about. In too many small ways to count, better educated employees are the key to better device management.
This list is not exhaustive. There are plenty of ways to improve the performance of your technology. Some of them include buying hardware. If you want to always spend your money in the best way possible, it boils down to maintaining a strong IT strategy. These audits and adjustments should definitely be a part of that strategy, but it never hurts to add a little more expert advice into the fold. Take the time to map your plan with your IT people, and it will save you time and money for years to come.
About the Author: Brittany Peckham
Brittany grew up in Oregon, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Business School with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. Brittany has been working with Valicom for many years creating content for the TEM industry to deliver the many benefits users and organizations can experience in utilizing TEM services. With a passion for social media marketing, Brittany enjoys applying creativity throughout various areas of her life while expressing creativity in everything she does and loves being consumed in projects, from start to finish.