Computer system strategy

by Admin
Updated: August 9, 2018

A simple primer for personal and business computer system strategy (hardware and software)

Computers are supposed to make our lives better. Nowadays, all computers are extremely powerful. They don’t (and never have) “run slow.” We should be able to use them to get more done, faster and to a higher standard.

This is an ultra-simple primer for computer system strategy as it applies to personal as well as business situations. It is intended to spark questions so please leave a comment.

Specific solutions, walkthroughs, tips & tricks etc. may be provided on separate dedicated pages.

Simplicity

A usage audit plus critical path analysis should reveal how simple your data management can really be.

Data in the form of plain text files is most easily transferred to & used on any operating system you choose.

Even this isn’t without problems: Windows operating systems suffer from a variety of encoding requirements that Unix-like operating system (Mac, Linux) don’t use. The most obvious example is that applications such as Notepad determine an end of line by a carriage return character followed by a newline character whereas the other operating systems use only a newline. This means multi-line text files created on other platforms can appear as if they are all on a single line unless you make allowances (e.g. use Notepad++).

Trying to use only text files is too restrictive for most purposes. Images, pdf and open document format files are highly portable. The key is to not get tied to a closed proprietary format.

Businesses can insulate themselves from most issues relating to data portability by taking a web-based (intranet/VPN) approach to information sharing.

Security

A security audit should reveal weaknesses in your data management systems (how you use your computers).

Valuable/private information should be encrypted and not stored where unauthorized personnel (e.g. data thieves) can get to it (e.g. public cloud).

Encryption is especially important for portable devices. For example, if your laptop is stolen, the thieves will need to decrypt the container before they can get to your data. This should give you time to make the necessary changes to protect yourself (change your passwords, freeze your credit file etc.)

Encryption can also help keep your data safe from ransomware attacks which usually only encrypt files with certain extensions.

Businesses need to be serious about system security. Networks of vulnerable Windows machines has never been good enough.

To a greater or lesser extent, businesses and individuals alike should monitor their network traffic.

Backups

To save is divine, provided you can restore!

Keeping backups all in one place is risky.

Losing track of backups or exposing them to unauthorized personnel is dangerous.

Switch to a better operating system

Most new preassembled hardware (computers, phones) comes preinstalled with either Windows or Apple software. Much of this software has features that are expected and trying to enforce a policy for mobile devices is rarely practicable.

Businesses, however, can dramatically improve security and save huge amounts of money if they use Linux - workstations as well as servers.

Linux is robust, fast on relatively low spec hardware and easy to manage centrally. You can get new life out of old workstations and not have to worry about things like Windows licenses.

Linux runs modern graphical standards-compliant web browsers. It also has incredible backwards compatibility - things that worked more than 15 years ago still work.

To get started with Linux, I recommend finding an old computer and installing a free distribution (distro) with good hardware support and a helpful user community, such as Mint.

More info

Run multiple operating systems on one computer using VirtualBox

“Operating Systems (OS) for Business” at itcentralstation.com

“... centos destop in daily work?” at centos.org

Internal links

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