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How To Take Care of Your Gadgets As You Work from Home Amid COVID-19 Following proper cleaning and sanitising regime for our gadgets is more than mandatory.

By Ameen Khwaja

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Oscar Nilsson on Unsplash

Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are gradually realising how our gadgets are the breeding place for so many viruses and germs. Before the lockdown days, every time we touched any object such as handrails, door handles, switches in the elevator, we seldom cleaned our hands leading exposure to various microbes which then transferred to gadgets of our daily use such as smartphones, chargers, smartwatches, laptops, earphones and so on.

As we work from home and considering the other gadgets we use, it is difficult to say how much gunk has built up between the buttons of our computer mouse or how much hair, dust and crumbs of food have fallen into the crevices of the keyboard. Or into the wire mesh of the headphones. We might touch these gadgets frequently throughout the day, oil and dead skin from our hands constantly rubbing off onto them, making them potential breeding grounds for bacteria. Hence, following proper cleaning and sanitising regime for our gadgets is more than mandatory.

Cleaning the gadgets

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that we clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Hence, it is advisable to wipe phones and other gadgets made of plastic with a micro-fiber cloth and Clorox wipes or any other disinfectant wipe with up to 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol to avoid any damage.

You don't need a UV light

Cool UV phone sanitizers are a thing now which we keep seeing on our social media feeds and ads. However, if the question is that if you should be investing in one for family and self? Then the answer is probably - "No' as cheap alcohol wipes do the job just fine.

How often should you sanitize or clean the gadgets?

It is a good practice and more hygienic to clean gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and laptops periodically, as they're regularly exposed to your hands. Also, regular cleaning ensures we spend less time cleaning them than when they're caked in grime. However, as per the experts keeping our phone and gadgets clean won't matter much if we're not practicing good hygiene in other ways. So it is important to wash hands regularly so that we don't spread any germs even if we come in contact with some.

Taking Proper Care

Be it a seasoned gadget user or someone novice, a well-maintained device is a boon to all. While maintaining good hygiene of the gadgets and devices is essential, it is also imperative to handle them with care so that we do not fall into the hassle of getting it repaired during this nationwide lockdown. The following tips can come in handy –

  1. Don't overcharge the batteries - As we know overcharging retards batteries' regenerative capabilities leading to a gradual decrease in the device's capability to hold a charge. In a Work from home environment, the chances of leaving the devices on charge overnight or while taking a power nap are higher which should be avoided.
  2. Keep food and beverages away from Mobiles and Laptops - Binge-watching your favourite show or completing that report with a bowl of pop-corn or salad. A single spill can destroy the keyboard of your laptop or mobile's touch-sensitive panel and its internal components.
  3. Blocking the vents - Resting the laptop on the couch or bed can block vents leading to heating issues.
  4. Organising cords and other accessories - A mess of cords, power strips, and random accessories on the floors and working surfaces are probably the features of an active home office setup. However, fixing them can save from any fatal incident if you have children or pets at home.
  5. Periodically cleaning of the device - To keep the device fast & secure it is advisable to periodically clean the same for temp files (cache and residuals) and optimise the same for seamless performance.

Stay Ahead of Hackers

Working remotely has opened doors for remote attacks by hackers. Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, hackers are using the panic and confusion to trick employees and other stakeholders into downloading infected payloads or malware. As many people work from home or access wi-fi networks that operate at enterprise-level security, devices such as routers can be hacked to plant a range of malware into handheld or portable devices used by employees. Hence, it is important more than ever to follow the best practices and adopt proper security measures such as -

  1. Securing the Wi-Fi network with a strong password
  2. Ensure having a fully updated anti-virus system in place
  3. Install security/privacy browser extensions like Adblockers and/or Browser Guards to keep such attacks at bay
  4. Maintain a periodic backup schedule to cloud or external devices for better preparedness in case you fall prey to ransomware
  5. Use encryption tools for password storage with two-factor authentication
  6. Check if all patches are installed, if all security tools are updated, and install new security features if any
  7. Be careful and alert while accessing emails and social media links and forwards on instant messaging platforms. These could lead to serious malware attacks leading to loss of data and monetary threat.

Hence if you're fortunate enough to be able to work from home amid the Coronavirus crisis, it is highly recommended that you follow the above so that you can deal with the new normal stress-free.

Ameen Khwaja

Founder & CEO - pTron


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