Protect Your Medical Transcription Work and Equipment - dummies

Protect Your Medical Transcription Work and Equipment

By Anne Martinez

Computer gear is more reliable than ever, which is great for your medical transcription work, but there are still things that can bring it to its knees in the blink of an eye. Too much electricity, too little electricity, and nefarious individuals are chief among them. Spilling coffee on your keyboard will end badly, too, but you already know how to prevent that.

To protect your equipment, you’ll need a surge protector for each wall outlet. Don’t even consider going without. Most people think of electricity as an on/off thing, but it’s not; it also fluctuates, sometimes substantially.

If you’ve ever noticed your lights flicker, you’ve witnessed a power fluctuation. When too much electricity comes down the line (a surge) or too little (a brownout or blackout), bad things can happen to your equipment and data. A power surge a brief as one or two nanoseconds can fry your gear.

A basic multi-outlet surge protector, or power strip, contains five or six outlets and provides a small amount of protection. They generally cost $10 to $20.

Larger surge protectors, sometimes called surge stations, fit on the floor under your desk and provide superior protection. They start at around $30, with more advanced models hitting $100 or more. Neither of these will be any help at all if your power goes out entirely, but a UPS will.

An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) combines surge protection with a battery backup. If power goes out or fluctuates, the battery takes over, and your computer will continue to run uninterrupted.

In the case of a complete outage, you’ll have a few minutes to save your work and shut down your computer normally. Some UPS units will even gracefully shut down your computer for you. A basic UPS can be had for as little as $50. Prices go up for units that can handle larger power surges and provide longer battery time.

Blocking nefarious individuals requires a different approach. A lot of people seem to have nothing better to do than mess up other people’s computers. To avoid becoming a victim, run antivirus software every minute of every day and employ the firewall function built into Microsoft Windows.

There are plenty of antivirus programs to choose among, including Microsoft Security Essentials, which you can get for free.