March 31st is World Backup Day, a day when the technology community reminds you to back up all your data – often.
Please take a few minutes right now to review your current backup plan by answering the following five questions:
If you have employees, it is good practice to put your company’s backup plan in writing and review this with them yearly. Perhaps you send out a memo reminding them of your backup requirements or you have a session over lunch to show them how to backup and why this is important. Backing up files is a habit and cultivating that habit with your employees makes good business sense. If your backup system is automated, see if your employees know how to tell if it is working properly for their computer.
If you are a one-person shop, create the habit of backing up hourly or set your backups to happen automatically. Check them weekly to see that the process is working correctly.
If you have a backup plan, then, Congratulations! Now, go and find it… Is it in your head? Is it on your computer? If it is in your head, write it down. If it is on your computer, find the file and read it. Then talk with your employees to see if they are following your current backup plan.
Has your business grown in the past year? Have you moved from your home office to an office building? Have you hired employees lately or opened a second location? If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, then it is time to update your backup plan either by upgrading your hardware or employing a Cloud Backup solution.
If your computer or network crashed today, do you know where to find your backup files and how to access them? Are they sitting on an external hard drive that is hooked up to your computer? Are they in a Cloud account somewhere that requires a username and password? Are you assuming that your business partner or significant other will know where and how to find them?
Pretend you need to find a file from your backups and see how long it takes to locate that file.
If you work by yourself and you have one computer, the simplest way to backup your data is to use an external hard drive, which you can set to automatically backup files hourly or daily. In the event of a computer crash, you can easily copy the files from your backup to your new or repaired computer.
In the event of a burglary or fire, your external hard drive will be lost as well as your computer, so considering setting up a second remote hard drive or adding a Cloud solution. Many of the Internet Service Providers now include backup accounts as part of their services.
If you have employees, setup a network with an on-site backup solution for easy access and a Cloud solution for worst-case scenarios.
Years ago I worked for a programming company that lost two years worth of work because their backup system was faulty. Be proactive… backup your data now!