Ramming home the importance of farm computers

Published Monday, 2nd December 2019 in SAC Consulting news

Computers are an important piece of kit on a farm
Computers are an important piece of kit on a farm

For farmers forking out large amounts of money for equipment such as tractors, it is often easy to forget the importance of investing in another vital piece of technology – the farm computer.

Computers are an important piece of kit on any farm, whether it’s for sending emails, registering calves, managing robotic equipment or maintaining spray records.

Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) has created guidance for farmers looking to buy a new computer or upgrade the operating system on their existing machine.

The guidance, Is your farm computer fit for purpose, outlines the different versions of Microsoft Windows – the most popular operating system, whether these are still supported by the company and how to upgrade to the latest operating system.

It also provides advice on what type of computer to buy, the considerations to take into account, and the benefits of having both a laptop and separate monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Chloe McCulloch from SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College which delivers the FAS programme, said: “While it might be obvious that a new computer is overdue, some farmers would benefit from upgrading or replacing their computer, even if it still works, because their operating system is no longer supported which is a security risk.

“Farmers use many specialist software products but relatively few of these will require more than a fairly basic modern computer. You are more likely to exceed a basic entry level spec if you want to use the computer for personal use also, such as watching movies, editing photographs or gaming.

“A few hundred pounds is a relatively small investment in farming terms for something that is vitally important for farm security.”

A separate piece of guidance, Protecting your personal information, provides advice on how to stay safe in the digital age. 

With hacking and malicious attacks becoming more numerous and sophisticated, computer users are advised to use a two tier security system when accessing online systems.  This requires imputting a password or PIN, followed by a code sent to a separate device.

The guidance also suggests setting up a Password Manager, which generates and remembers passwords for logging into secure websites.

Both documents can be read here.

For more information or advice, call the FAS advice line on 0300 323 0161 or visit www.fas.scot

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