Since we started in this business 35 years ago the best practice has been to leave your computer on at night. There were several reasons. In the early days when computer models started with XT, AT and 386, the components, in particular the hard drives, did not like being turned on and off. Leaving a computer on was the key to making the computer last longer. The other reason computers were left on at night was to run updates and perform system maintenance.
Fast forward to today. Desktop computers increasingly come with solid state drives, and even the spinning drives are much more reliable. Updates can be scheduled to download when the computer is on, and installed when the computer is turned off or when it boots up. The reasons we left computers on in the past no longer apply.
New realities make turning your computer off at night the right thing to do. A typical computer consumes about as much electricity as a 60-watt light bulb. Over the course of a year, that computer left on full time will cost about $60 per year in electricity. So turning a computer off at night can save at least $30 per year per computer, not to mention the positive impact on the environment from using less energy.
The most compelling reason to turn off as many computers as possible at night is cyber security. In analyzing past criminal exploits of client networks, most of the criminal activity is conducted on desktop computers left on overnight. Criminals are smart enough to know that they can’t do network discovery or deploy ransomware while the users are working on their computers. By turning a computer off at night, the criminals no longer have access to the systems reducing the attack vectors available. A computer that is turned off is protected from criminal attacks. This is especially true on the weekends when most ransomware attacks are conducted.
Employees should be encouraged to turn off their computers at night to help protect the company network, and to reduce energy consumption. If your employees need help remembering, through DeckerWright’s automation tool, we have the ability to turn off computers for clients if they would like us to do so.
The new best practice for our industry is if the computer is not in use, turn it off.
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