You know what I don’t understand—what do random hackers really get out of sending viruses to people? I’m not talking about stealing data or deleting significant files. There’s tons of reasons for that, from corporate espionage to simple greed. I’m also not talking about virus bombs planted on websites—if you have to actually step on the mine to get blown up, they want to punish you for being there, and there are a ton of reasons for that, too. What I’m talking about are those people who give you a virus, and that’s it—they gain nothing, your life sucks, and they may or may not even have a total count for how many people they attacked. 

What’s the up-side of that? No really, I want to know.

At least there’s antivirus software for that, and with any luck, it’s just a sociopathic phase, the little hacker will grow out of it, and maybe even get a job in cybersecurity someday and live happily ever after. Use your powers for good, self-proclaimed Super Villain. And go do your homework—you’re smart enough to cripple my computer, so there’s no earthy reason you can’t pass algebra. 

The thing is, while we’re prepping for dancing teenaged angst on one side, there are much quieter things we’re paying no attention to whatsoever lurking in the background. Components in the system perform as they are supposed to perform until the day they can’t do it anymore, and they don’t send a heads-up text on the way out. There’s no magical software for that, either.

The best thing you can do to protect your system from all the things you aren’t thinking about right now—wear and tear of time on individual components, the effects of power surges, issues with ventilation and temperature control that can impact the system, etc.—is to hire an engineer or maintain a service contract, depending on the size of your system. Most people can get away with a quarterly check-up, as long as they replace what needs replacing as time goes on. As is usually the case, it’s far less expensive to maintain then to rebuild, and boring maintenance beats dramatic failure every time. 

Your home computer probably runs some kind of a system check at 2:00 AM automatically to protect you from hackers, but your company’s digital storage system is running in the tech room, quietly doing it’s job, and no one who really knows how it works checks on it? That means you may not be able to access any of the content stored on it someday, even if it seemed perfectly fine the day before, if something you didn’t even know was a “thing” happens to breathe it’s last. 

That seems a whole lot riskier than the possibility of being ridiculed by your screensaver, and you put up a firewall to prevent that. There’s a chance you won’t be targeted for a virus while there is zero chance of not being effected by time, but you’re willing to take the risk, despite the mathematical certainty of failure.

What’s the up-side of that? No really, I want to know.