Christmas is just around the corner and it’ll soon be time for a well-deserved break! As businesses prepare to close over the holidays, many will decide to shut down their computer systems as well. But even when turned off, your computers and the data on them are still at risk. Unexpected events such as power surges, fire, or theft can cause data loss and serious damage to your business. To avoid this, there are a few precautions you need to take before turning off your computer system over the holidays.

Backup your data

Unlike IT equipment that can be bought off the shelf, data cannot be replaced when lost. Use external hard drives, USBs, or cloud storage to backup all your data. This should include documents, files, emails, contact lists, and accounting records. We recommend using the 3-2-1 backup strategy to fully protect your data from being lost or damaged. The strategy involves making two copies of your data, leaving one copy onsite for easy access and the other offsite. This means your data will still be available even if one location is damaged in a disastrous event like a fire or flood.

Unplug everything

When a machine is turned off but still plugged in, there will be electricity running through it. The power surges caused by summer storms can seriously damage your IT equipment. Unplug your computers, printer, modems, routers, and other machines from any network, telephone lines, and cable connections.

Related: Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Computer

Hide your equipment

IT equipment has a high resale value and can be easily moved. This makes your office a likely target for thieves over the holidays. Lock away any portable IT equipment and draw the blinds or curtains in rooms where you keep machines that are difficult to move. There’s also the clever tactic of leaving out less valuable IT equipment such as old or broken laptops, monitors, and phones, so they can act as a ploy to distract the thieves if they do happen to break in.

Update your system

When you return, your computer will be vulnerable to new viruses and other malicious software released over the holidays. Chances are these will appear as phishing emails waiting in your inbox. To protect your data and computer programs, it’s important to run any system and security updates on your computer before opening your emails or connecting to the internet.

By taking these precautions before you leave for the holidays, you can relax knowing your data is safe and that your business will be up and running smoothly once you return.