How much do you rely on your digital data (and paper records for that matter) in your business?
Could your business survive if you lost all your business records, client meeting notes, tax returns, or other important information?
What would happen if someone stole your computer, or a flood or bush fire destroyed your office?
Insurance would cover the physical items, but not the vital data they contained.
This is where planning for the disaster you hope will never happen comes to the fore.
One of the keys of a successful business is managing risk and minimising the risk to your data should be an essential part of your risk management.
I will admit to being somewhat obsessive about this, however I have a backup system in place that, if something untoward happens, I am certain I can recover all but the last few hours of work. Oh - and I do test it to make sure that I can recover files from my backups.
Here is what I do:
· All my files are stored in a specific file server area on my network. This makes backing up easy. Each computer has a local backup drive, but this does not form part of the main backup.
· Each night the file area gets backed up to a separate hard disk outside my immediate office area. I use back up software to automate this so I don’t have to remember every night. I regularly check the logs to make sure the back up worked (important step there).
· Each week, I back up the file server area onto another drive that I store outside my office. Again I use back up software to only update what has changed rather than backing up the whole drive each week.
· Each month, I store an updated copy of the file server area at my Mum’s house (who lives a few suburbs away). It is important to find someone who lives outside your immediate area to store your back ups for you because if some larger scale disaster occurs, you are still covered to some extent.
These days hard disks are very cheap, with multiple terabyte drives being offered for less than a few hundred dollars. Good backup software can be had for less than $100. So, a really robust back up system would cost you less than $500 and potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Alternatively you can use some of the cloud backup services that are around (although I would want to be comfortable that I knew my data was secure and that they had a disaster recovery plan in place). Also, you need to understand how long the data will take to download from the cloud (which could be days if you have a lot of data) if something does happen, and how much that could cost you in additional download charges.
So, how much is your business data really worth to you and your business compared with the cost of protecting it?
What backup scheme do you use? Are you more anal about this than me?
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