Out with the old – Advice on why and how businesses need to have a ‘clear out’ and delete old material.

Why have an IT clear out? It’s an overwhelming task right? Just like that feeling you get before you spring clean your house, but remember how good it feels after a big sort – less stress, more organised and a little lighter.

Engineering Manager at Microtest, Robert Dent, says: “Computer systems suffer from clutter and a regular clear can help aid this and it’s also a good way to review what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

“A clear out can also be the difference between needing to upgrade your IT system, due to lack of hard disk space, and not. It can often uncover unexpected and potentially unwanted use of the IT system – contrary to business needs.”

Where to start?

Start by re-organising files and remove anything redundant. There are a few general questions you need to ask yourself:

Has the material been accessed lately?
Is it likely to be required for anything in the future?
Is it irreplaceable?

“If the answer to all the questions is ‘no’ then the files are really not required and can be deleted. If there is any uncertainty then it should be archived. Archiving means it’s not on your active systems but is available if required to be restored to your systems. It’s simple and safe and you can use inexpensive media and manual means such as copy and paste, mainstream or bespoke backup applications. It is advisable to do this to multiple devices such as a USB stick, writable CD, DVD or tape and, if possible, store them in geographically different, secure locations. If information is sensitive, then you might also wish to consider using encryption. This is the kind of service and solution Microtest can offer to businesses and help step them through the process.”

You will be surprised just how many benefits there are to de-cluttering your digital life if you can step away from the ‘might need it someday’ mentality. Even as computers are built faster and stronger than ever, the principles of simplicity and minimalism still apply.

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