At Panacea we’re not only software nerds – we’re IT support nerds too! We’ve got over 20 years’ experience in providing high quality IT advice and support to vets and to other businesses.
So here’s our top 10 handy IT tips for vets. Panacea customers are welcome to ask for free IT advice – just use the support function from within the app.
Please share your tips in the comments!
- Turning it off and back on again will often do the trick. From a PC that’s running slow or an Internet router that won’t work – msot of the time a reboot will indeed get it back to working as normal. Just remember to properly shut it down and restart it if it’s a computer or mobile device (use the restart function). It’s also a good idea to reboot computers at least weekly to free up unused memory, apply updates, etc. Consider doing a restart just before you go home/switch off for the night so updates can apply while you’re not using your device.
- Your mail really should be on Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. There are lots of other mail services, but Google and Microsoft have spent billions on creating and improving these services and they really are hard to beat. Consider using Google Workspace, as it includes Google’s sublime online productivity suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.) There’s no need to shell out $15 (or so) per month for Microsoft Office when Google Workspace let’s you create, edit and store your documents on the cloud.
- Store all of your data on the cloud. Backups are so 2012. Products like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Panacea make it easy to store all of your data on the cloud, where it’s backed up and protected for you. Do an audit of all of your computers to determine which (if any) still store data that you wouldn’t want to lose if the worst happens. Then figure out how to migrate it to the cloud. In the meantime, make sure that data is backed up daily until it has been migrated to the cloud.
- It’s really easy to create professional email addresses that use your clinic’s domain name. Many clinics use their own domain name (e.g. ‘acmevets.com’) for their website, but still use gmail or other generic email addresses, which can look a bit unprofessional. It’s super simple to set up email using Google Worksapce or Microsoft 365 and your own domain name. It only takes a few minutes and you can redirect your old generic email accounts to your new, branded ones, so you won’t miss out on any incoming emails.
- Providing free wifi to your clients is easy. Once you’ve got unlimited broadband, that is. Look for a wireless access point (WAP) that supports the creation of a ‘guest’ network – you use this to provide clients with free WiFi without letting them access your own network. Clients often appreciate free WiFi while they’re waiting.
- Password security is important. Thankfully it’s also easy. Use a password manager, such as LastPass or NordPass – these are often free and can run on all of your devices. Make sure you use complex passwords that are hard to guess. Never share passwords and always use unique passwords for each app/service (this is where the password manager comes in). If your app or service supports it then always enable two factor authentication.
- Train all of your staff on how to identify and respond to suspicious emails and other ‘social engineering’ hacks. You’d be surprised at the lengths that bad actors will go to try and defraud you and your users. This can include the use of email, social media, SMS text messages and even direct phone calls to try and scam you. Thankfully avoiding such attacks is relatively easy. Never click on links that you don’t recognise and trust and always double check the email address/phone number or user ID before you respond to messages. Never give out information of any kind, particularly passwords and 2FA codes, to anyone you don’t know and trust. Always have a trusted IT services provider who you can call on for advice when you’ve suffered an attack.
- Keep all of your software up to date. Software updates don’t have to be a drag – they keep your devices running optimally and help protect you against software exploits (bugs that hackers may be able to use to steal data, etc.) We recommend using an IT provider with tools to keep all of your software up to date, not just Windows.
- Wired is always better than wireless. WiFi is great, but wireless connections are no match for wired ones when it comes to performance and reliability. Connect your clinics’ devices to your LAN via high quality wired connections wherever possible. It can be worth the investment to install good quality data cabling to places you don’t already have it. Visit speedtest.net if you think your Internet connection is running slowly to get accurate performance stats.
- Think about how you can automate your clinic’s processes. Meet with your team once a month and discuss what you could automate and how. Look at how this will benefit your clinic and, most important, your customers and patients. Yes, change can be daunting, but if you’re still taking bookings over the phone, using paper-based systems, still doing your bookkeeping in a spreadsheet, etc. then you’re probably wasting a lot more of yours, your personnel’s and your client’s time than you realise. Automating and improving business processes is often easier, less disruptive and more rewarding than you think. That’s why Panacea is full of automations for mundane and repetitive tasks.