Technology can make the work routine easier and more efficient – until the Internet goes down, computers crash or hackers strike.

At the Grain Valley Partnership luncheon Tuesday, Integral technology expert Burton Kelso shared tips for how to offset these potential disasters, as well as general rules for using technology effectively in a business setting:

1. Be kind to your data.

“Back up your stuff,” Kelso summed up. Whether it’s a marketing proposal or a cover letter, hours of work could vanish without a storage option. Kelso listed several possibilities: an external hard drive, a network storage system, or programs like Windows File History or Apple’s Time Machine. He stressed that iCloud doesn’t count as a backup method. According to Kelso, the goal should be redundancy – that way there’s always another copy on hand.

2. Pick a good – and different – password.

Using the same password for every account might be easy, but it’s also risky. Similarly, using “password” as your password might prove too on-the-nose. If remembering the login information for various accounts presents a challenge, Kelso recommends using LastPass, a digital password manager and vault that can be accessed by visiting

3. Stay updated and protected.

It’s tempting to click “remind me later” when pesky updates flood the screen, but Kelso warned that some software providers don’t protect users of outdated versions. He also noted that most users shouldn’t pay for antivirus protection programs – both Windows and Apple have protection built in to their software.

4. Get busy on social media.

“Who wished their LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends a happy birthday today?” Kelso asked. When only a few people raised their hands, Kelso emphasized that this simple practice can help with networking and cultivating a positive social media presence. Similarly, businesses can use social media to exude positivity, friendliness and professionalism.

5. Optimize your website.

While social media can be a powerful tool, Kelso maintains that it can’t replace a well-made website. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace can make creating a personal or professional website easy.

6. Set boundaries.

“Sometimes we need to turn off the internet and reconnect with each other,” Kelso said.

Personally, Kelso opts for designating a day each week to unplug. Tools like Hootsuite make it possible to schedule posts ahead of time.