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The Importance of Backups

I was speaking to someone this week who had taken the plunge and updated to Windows 8. However, they forgot to backup their PC before doing so and have now discovered that a number of programs no longer work.

I can’t stress the importance of backups before carrying out any major changes to your PC software. Please read my earlier blog on backups for further information.

Thinking about Backups

Do you know when the absolute worst time to think about backups is? It’s that split second after you delete that important presentation or family photo. It’s the moment when the tech support chap tells you your hard drive has died and your data is lost.

While a necessity, making backups can sometimes be difficult for the novice and average user and as such often fell by the wayside, a forgotten item until it was too late.

Many of the catastrophes that hobble small businesses can be blamed on outside forces – a poor economy, a natural disaster or a power blackout. No surprise that those who survive the down times are typically the ones who minimized their risk by taking basic precautions. One of the most basic of all is backing up critical business data.

Backing up critical business data regularly is like an insurance policy. It allows your business to get up and running quickly after a data loss, which could result from a hardware failure, flood, fire, security breach . . . or just an accidental deletion. In a past survey of businesses that suffered a severe loss of data, 60% did not survive and ceased trading.

If you’re not convinced backing up is worth the time and effort, ask yourself:

  • What would happen if you walked into the office in the morning and all of your critical business data was gone?
  • How long would it take you to recover?
  • How much disruption and delay would occur?
  • What would it cost you – in staff wages, extra costs as the data is recovered, and loss of business during the recovery?

How to Backup

So how do you backup? The choice is wide. You could have networked tape drive allowing backup and archiving, it could be online backup to a data centre in the cloud, or it could be something simple as an external USB Hard Drive. Whatever option you go for, automating and scheduling the backups ensures that you do not forget.

It’s important to test your backups frequently by actually restoring data to a test location. Doing this ensures your backup media and backed-up data are working correctly. It also helps identify problems in the restoration process and provides a level of confidence that will be useful during an actual crisis.