Years ago, every November, our clients’ offices would have bankers boxes ordered and ready. It was time to clear out the old files and make room for a new year! Several clients even had storage space in the shop that was filled with boxes. Every few years they’d pull out the oldest boxes and figure out what to shred.
No one had to send out reminders to clean out the drawers or shop; it was easy and obvious. When you couldn’t put anything else in the drawers or in the attic, it was time to buy new cabinets, or get rid of the old stuff.
Believe it or not, the same ‘cleanup’ is still true, it’s just electronic! We have clients with 20+ years’ worth of job plans, pictures, contracts and similar documents on their server, long past warranty dates or retention rules from the CPA. Clients with years and years of email history is another example. Some people cleanup their InBox, but the Send folder can have many years’ worth of data. Do you clean out the Junk folder? Depending on how you delete your email, you may have a very full Delete folder that needs attention. Tip: Ctrl/Delete will delete it permanently rather than moving it to your Delete folder.
All of these electronic files and email history take up space. You may not see bankers boxes stacked in the shop, but the computer drives are full of all this data, taking up server space and space on your workstations/laptops. ‘So what?,’ you might say. Well, if you hit 85% drive space usage on a computer, and you don’t clean up to free up space, you’re now looking at buying more drives or larger drives and the cost of labor to set all of that up. Also, you need more backup space, so you might incur more costs for your backups, or have to move to a larger Disaster Recovery unit. Is your server in the cloud so there’s no hardware to buy? That’s great, but when more drive space is added, your monthly costs will go up, as well.
Here are a couple of things to put in place to cleanup the electronic files and free up some space:
– Choose a time of year to go through file folders on the server. Yearend is often a busy time for the office as you wrap up the year. Choose a slower time or season and block the dates. Order pizza or bring in some cookies just for the fun of it.
– If a file or folder is old but you’re not sure it should be deleted, move it to an external hard drive to get it off the server. Note: Be sure to label the outside of these drives with the date and a list of what’s been saved on the drive, then lock it up in a safe place.
– Clean out your email boxes! You probably stay on top of your InBox, so take a look at the Deleted files; then look at the Junk folder. Pull up the Sent folder – do you need to keep Sent email from 5 years ago? Maybe yes, maybe no, but I’ll bet some of that could be deleted. Do you have a tree of subfolders under your InBox? Don’t forget to look through those, too.
– If you use Sage 100 Contractor, run the Tune-Up through the Database Admin tool. When you roll the posting period forward each month, you already have Exclusive Access. Take an extra few minutes and run the Tune-Up at the same time. This clears out log files and keeps the data pristine.
CAUTION: There are files, folders, and other things on the server that need to stay there, whether you use them or not! Don’t delete anything other than data you know and recognize. Make a list of other things you see and get a Tech on the phone to walk through the list. The Tech can help you figure out if these are files that need to stay or not.