shutterstock_521029216Buying a new computer is exciting. Once it is set up, you might be tempted to immediately use it to surf the web or try out some new programs. It is best to resist that temptation, though. Computers right out of the box are outdated and vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.

To protect your new computer and your data, here are four things you need to do after you set up the computer:

1. Update Your Operating System

Your new computer likely sat on a shelf in a store or warehouse for a while before you bought it, so you probably will need to update its operating system. Most operating system vendors release updates that address newly discovered security vulnerabilities, fix bugs, and install software enhancements. By keeping your operating system up-to-date, you are one step closer toward ensuring that your computer has as few vulnerabilities and bugs as possible.

Microsoft, for example, releases security patches every Tuesday, widely known as Patch Tuesday. Patch management services from an experienced IT service provider can help ensure that your systems stay updated so that you minimize the risk of issues down the road.

2. Install or Update Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Software

Keeping your operating system up-to-date is not enough to keep your computer secure. To cover all your bases, you need anti-malware and anti-virus software. Like operating system vendors, anti-malware and anti-virus software vendors release updates to make sure their customers are protected against the latest cybersecurity threats.

Some computers include preinstalled anti-malware and anti-virus software. If you want to use it, you just need to activate it and install any updates. If your computer does not include this software or you want to use something different, you will need to install the desired anti-malware and anti-virus software and update it as necessary.

3. Schedule Data Backups

When you restore a hard drive from a system image, you are restoring all the items in that drive. There is no way to locate a certain file or folder in the image and restore just that item. If you want the ability to restore some files or folders but not others, you need to perform data backups. You can restore one file, several files, or all the files in a backup.

Many operating systems include data backup utilities. You can also use a third-party program or a cloud backup service. No matter which tool you use, you need to schedule frequent backups. Backing up your data every day is ideal.

4. Document Product Information

Documenting your computer’s product keys, serial numbers, and warranty expiration dates is important. Your product keys and serial numbers are proof that you own the software and hardware. You should save this information in a secure location that is easy to access in an emergency. Do not save it on your hard drive, though, in case it fails.