As a computer repair and support provider we see lots a problems where computer data has been lost or damaged. This can be caused by many things including:
- Hard drive failure
- Accidental deletion of files
- Malicious deletion or modification of files by an employee (usually one that has been dismissed)
- Quitting word and accidentally saying no to “do you want to save changes”, I know I have done that myself.
- Power cuts
The first question we ask is “where are the data backups” but the all too frequent answer is “we don’t do backups”. In some circumstances the data can be recovered, but often the lost data is not easily recoverable and involves using the services of a specialist data recovery company (which is expensive). In some cases this data loss results in the ultimate failure of the small business.
So how do you backup your data and protect yourself?
The answer is to have an automated daily backup process, and ensure your backups are stored offsite (away from your business premises, it’s no good if the building burns down with the backup still in the building).
Backups can be taken onto:
- USB Memory sticks
- External hard drives
- Across the internet to another computer in another of your offices (only relevant to companies or individuals with multiple premises)
- Cloud backup
The first two methods rely on you remembering to physically take the media (USB stick or external disk) off-site on a daily basis, using several in rotation, the latter two methods work without needing to remember to do that.
It is also important to perform a test that you can actually recover files from your backups every few months (a disaster recovery test).
It is much better to be proactive and create a backup strategy now, rather than worry about if your business will survive after a large data loss. Your IT support company will be able to design and implement an automated local backup solution, or provide you with a cloud based backup solution, so don’t delay, start backing up your data now before you have a problem.
Chris Moody is the proprietor of ASL Computer Services which provides computer repair and support services to both small businesses and home PC users. http://www.aslcs.co.uk