From failing to regularly back-up your data to taking product recommendations from the wrong person, here are a few common mistakes you might be making when it comes to the technology that powers your business — and how to fix them.

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With new products and digital advancements debuting seemingly every day, it’s easy to forget the basics when it comes to technology. From failing to regularly back up your data to taking product recommendations from the wrong person, here are a few common mistakes you might be making with the technology that you use for your business — and how to fix them.

1. You consulted a fellow agent before making a hardware purchase

There are a few reasons this is a bad idea. The first being that most real estate agents only know about the hardware that they use, and they will recommend it if they like it, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best for you or that if fits into your budget.

Sometimes people will recommend hardware, like maybe a scanner that works very well with PC operating systems, but you use a Mac, and you won’t get the same results, or it may not work at all.

There is no universal printer that is best for real estate professionals. Printers should be selected based on how they will be used. I don’t print much, but I print from multiple devices that will print on various types and sizes of paper. I also share my printer in my office and do so remotely.

Do your homework and read up before making a hardware purchase. Learn about which features are available or consult an expert, maybe even someone who doesn’t have a real estate license. Macintosh users can consult with an expert from the Genius Bar at an Apple store.

2. You don’t use a password manager

There are real estate professionals who routinely get locked out of all of their accounts online and struggle to set up new ones. They spend a lot of time on workarounds, including setting up duplicate accounts.

Some just use the same password for everything, which is one of the worst practices considering how common data breaches have become.

Others write their passwords down on pieces of paper. There are many “reasons” for not using a password manager, but there are even more reasons for using one.

Using a password manager means only having to remember one password. I use the premium version of LastPass because I like the ease of use and the way it works on multiple devices on any platform. I can keep track of accounts and know which passwords are too old and need to be changed.

3. You bought in completely to the world of Apple products

Many people believe in the myth that if you use an iPhone, it is best to use only Apple products so that everything syncs up or works together.

However, you can sync contacts and calendars across multiple platforms with the greatest of ease.

Using multiple platforms continues to get easier which means there are more hardware and software options than ever before. Hardware and software choices do not have to mean a lifetime commitment either, although sometimes it is easier to just keep buying the same brand.

4. You think older computers and operating systems are better

Keeping software and hardware up to date is inconvenient but necessary. Software, especially operating systems, needs to be kept up to date for security reasons.

Hardware eventually gets so old that the software can not be updated. Keep a record or put a tag on computers with the month and year of purchase. Plan and budget for replacements.

5. You fail to back up your computer and other electronic devices

This is 2021 and I can’t believe I am writing about backups, but I am. I like Carbonite. It runs in the background and even as I am writing this, it is keeping my backup current. It is automatic and in the background. It isn’t free, but some of my files are priceless.

It isn’t enough to simply do a backup — you also need to know how to access it and how to get your stuff back.

If you rely on computers in your business, it is a good idea to have a plan for what to do if your computer fails. Owning or having access to more than one computer helps. Sometimes tablets and Chrome books can be used in a pinch. I noticed that real estate offices sometimes have computers that agents can use.

Having a plan for power outages and internet outages is important too. Do you know how to use your mobile phone as a hot spot for your computer or tablet?

Do you know what to do if you break or lose your phone? Have a plan for how and where to get a replacement. Do you know how to get your phone messages after your phone has been lost or stolen?

Planning for these scenarios now will save you a lot of time (and headaches) in the future.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

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