In response to recent cutbacks and layoffs, many Americans are turning to home computer business opportunities to create their own income stream and achieve the American dream of working for themselves. Unfortunately, too few of these people are have any IT or computer repair experience, and the cost of downtime and broken equipment can be incredibly detrimental to a new business. The answer does not lie in an IT degree, however, but in five simple steps to increase the health of your computer and, thereby, your business.First, replace hardware every two to three years. Studies show that older computers are much more likely to contract viruses and take much longer to fix than those models only two to three years old. As your computer is your lifeblood, it is essential to replace it every three years to ensure proper running. Additionally, surge protectors are common hardware pieces that sit around way too long. Most people use them, but few people realize they should be replaced every two years. One simple power surge can know out weeks worth of important data and can set a business back irreparably.Second, make sure you own the software you are using. Many computers come with free trial offers, but it is up to the owner to take the time to register the software with its company. Software audits are on the rise, and can lead to costly fees placed on businesses who neglect to ensure the legality of their software.Third, invest in spam, virus, and spy-ware software. Protection against these common issues can save your business hundreds and thousands of dollars, and save you a lot of time. Be sure to accept all updates to your security software, as new threats are introduced on a daily basis,.Fourth, make sure your firewall is properly installed and up to date. Firewalls keep hackers from intruding up on your system and wreaking havoc on your business. Software companies often send out security patches at regular intervals to make sure your firewall stays as strong against threats as possible.Fifth, and most obvious, back up all data. In case of computer malfunction, backed up data can be priceless in terms of continuing business. Depending upon the size of your operation, there are many backup options available, ranging from a flash drive to an offsight storage facility that your computer automatically syncs to on a daily basis.Good computer maintenance is essential to the health and prosperity of your home computer business, but it doesn't have to take an IT expert to accomplish. Follow these steps and you could save yourself thousands of dollars with a few strokes of the keys.