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April 22, 2017

Top backup gadgets to have in your small office.

Top backup gadgets to have in your small office.

Often times running a small office means that every member has to wear several hats. Small offices rely on their staff to troubleshoot and fix costly computer and network problems. While this may work well if your staff member is a tech genius often times it prolongs the downtime since they may not have all the important tools necessary to fix the problem in-house.

So for all those tech gurus and geeks out there that have been handed the awesome powers of fixing their small office network and computer issues, here are my top tech gadgets to have just in case.

1.Cables – this seems like an obvious one but with so many different types of cables it is necessary to do a little home work to make sure you have a  spare of each type. Several CAT-5/6 network cables at least 10’ in length,4 and 6 pin telephone cables, power cables for

  • Several CAT-5/6 network cables at least 10’ in length, longer here is always better
  • 4 and 6 pin telephone cables,
  • power cables for network, computer equipment, and
  • USB cables in their different sizes should be kept handy.

2.USB external devices. You may ask why this may be important but, with most computer manufacturers condensing all their components on motherboards that are not meant to be serviced by the end user, it becomes very important to have an external USB backup of common computer components. So I suggest keeping around a

  • USB DVDROM drive,
  • USB mouse and keyboard,
  • a USB network dongle,
  • USB external hard drive,
  • USB thumb drives,
  • a USB to video VGA and/or display port/HDMI,and
  • aUSB powered hub in your toolkit.
  • (Optional) USB Speakers
  • (Optional)USB Webcam

This will allow you to fix the most common hardware issues without even breaking a sweat.

3.Network jack mapper. These are inexpensive and will keep you from wondering If there is something wrong with the jack or not. This can save hours in figuring if your network jack is truly broken or not.

4.Inexpensive tone and probe. This device will allow you to trace the problem with faulty wiring quickly and effectively and can be purchas

ed for as little as…

5. Extra battery back up device. I personally would suggest you keep at least two extra backups because one lightning strike or power surge can fry several computers at a time. Most of the time only the battery inside the battery back up fails, but it is best practice to just have an entirely new working unit.

6. Extra monitors. From time to time monitors do go bad. Most issues are not very serious, like a bad pixel or a ghost image from burn-in, but sometimes their internal LCD light may stop working or it could short out altogether. Keep some of the spare monitors from older stations or just purchasing a few extra is the best way to go

7. Extra batteries. Not often given much thought is batteries. Batteries power our wireless keyboards and mice and they will run out of juice always at the worse possible moment. Make sure to have at least a  pack of 12 at all times.

8. Label maker. If you thought of McGiver using a label maker to fix a computer, well I did too when I first wrote it. Label makers can and should be used to label the IP and hostname addresses of printers, and network rack equipment for easy identification and troubleshooting. Additionally, if your network jacks are not labeled, you can use a tone/probe to find its number on the patch panel and label it. Here a stitch in time will save nine.

With a couple of preventive measures and the previously mentioned backup devices you could save your small business dozens if not hundreds of hours in downtime. If anyone can think of any more to add to the list be sure to comment. Thanks!