Computer Tips for the Learning and Development Professional

In what seems like a former life, I worked in IT departments monitoring the health of Linux servers, and keeping people’s work computers up and running. While a gratifying choice of work, I soon came to find that people are rarely happy to see the computer repair girl because it means they are about to have a frustrating day/week. I also found out I like training people to use their computer more than actually fixing it.

While it has been a long time since I have made a living working in IT, I do occasionally lend a hand when someone is in need. This week, I have helped a surprising amount of people with their computers, all of whom need them to be productive for work. In 2019, we live in an age where many of our jobs absolutely require a computer and an internet connection to be at our optimal work capacity. Brian and I often discuss what tools we use for learning and development on this blog, and I don’t know that we ever call out the one that is right in front of us every day; our PC.

In my experience, work computers are kind of like the hot water heater in your house; you don’t really think about how much you enjoy having it until it stops working. A functioning computer is as important in learning and design as any tool I can think of, especially for contractors or entrepreneurs who many not have access to a back-up device or IT department. Today, let’s look at a few ways to protect one of your most important L&D tools.

Avoid Lockouts with LastPass

First and foremost, you should not have one password for every site. Second, you shouldn’t write them down or keep them on your phone. So how do you manage all of your passwords? LastPass is a password management system that keeps track of all of your passwords in a secure place. Personal accounts are free, and upgrading is very affordable. You can also securely share website passwords over this site if that is ever needed.

Avoid Hacking

Microsoft will never call you directly and ask for information about your computer, nor will they put a pop-up on your screen and ask you to call them. It may look very real. The person on the phone may sound very real. It is not. This is a hard rule, no exceptions. Beyond that, work smart and don’t click on emails from people you don’t know. If you want to be even more protected, use Slack instead of email.

Check for Encryption

This one is totally new to me, but I suffered through a bear of an issue this week. Some manufacturers are putting encryption software on computers with a code that is hidden in your PC. It is a great idea if you want to protect your data should suffer theft. However, if the encryption is trigged and you don’t know your passkey, you may need to reformat your computer, depending on the manufacturer. To see if your PC has this encryption, type “recovery” in your search bar. If you are prompted to back-up a recovery key, do it! If you are not prompted to back-up a key, you are not encrypted.

Have you suffered downtime because of a computer issue? How did it affect your work? I want to hear your story! Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments section below.

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