Never lost your backup data? Think it can’t happen to you? Think again
My clients often ask me how frequently they should back up; and I recommend that they should backup as often as it’s necessary to avoid having to redo any work. Now they probably didn’t want to do the work in the first place; why would they want to do it again? I’m always making an extra copy of this or that…just in case…
And, since I’m so stringent about making computer backups—always have been–always will be; you’d think that I’ve never had any problem. Oh…were it so! A couple of years ago I had a hard drive crash where I lost six months of data (including my emails). My automatic backup wasn’t auto-backing up and I had depended on it without checking. I hibernated with free-flowing tears and a sick pit in my stomach and for weeks; and even today I’m still looking for a file that I have to recreate…Ugh!
Hopefully, you’re already making regular backups of the business data and it’s simple to set up backups automatically and then forget about them until you need them. But have you ever looked to make sure that your system is working and see if there are any gaps in your backup strategy? Here are seven places to look to make sure all your business data is backed up safely.
1. Online Calendar
Do you use an online calendar? If you use a calendar such as Google Calendar, then it’s a good idea to keep a backup in case something happens to it that’s out of your control. In Google, go to Settings from the Settings menu, click the Calendars tab, and Export your calendar to get your backup.
It’s common for business owners to rely on their webmaster to have a backup of their website, but this is often not within the scope of the webmaster duties. Check with your webmaster to get a backup of your website files so that you are protected against hackers, hosting problems, and more. If your blog is in the same place, make sure you have a backup of it as well. You may also want to preserve any online profiles you have in the same way.
3. Your Email
We are so dependent on our email these days that we should consider backing this file up daily, if not hourly. The location of your email file varies, and some people have more than one. It’s worth double-checking to see if this file is included in your regular backup routine. You may also want to create a separate, more frequent backup routine for this critical file.
If you have an online email account, make sure you have a backup of all those emails in case something goes wrong. I use my emails to run my business probably more than I use other software files.
4. Browser Data
Browser-related data, such as your bookmarks, history, toolbar, and saved passwords are all stored in files, but they can be hard to find and recover. If something happens to your browser data, it may or may not be a big deal. If it is, include these files in your regular backup so you can recover what you need more easily.
5. Online Bank and Vendor Account Information
If you get audited by the IRS, it’s almost always for a year in the distant past. Digging up invoices you might have had online access to but no longer do can be time-consuming and painful. Most banks and vendors have made it super-easy to download PDF versions of your invoices and statements, so be sure you do that before your access to them expires or becomes an extra charge. Some banks are now putting a one year limit on previous downloads.
6. Local and Cloud Drives
Every business’s technology setup is different. If you have a server, chances are you’re getting it backed up regularly. If you have employees, make sure each of their hard drives are backed up so they don’t lose any files that are not on the server. If you have your files centralized in the cloud, make sure you have a backup of those files.
One additional place that may not be backed up is your Desktop. It depends on your operating system; sometimes desktop files are excluded if you have your backups set to copy only “My Documents” files and subfolders.
Periodically check the accuracy and effectiveness of your backups and see if you can recover a file or two. If not, you’re back to the drawing board, and it’s better to find out in a non-emergency situation that you have some work to do on your backup and recovery strategy.
Being a business owner is all about taking calculated risks. Having all your important business data backed up helps you reduce your risks and protect what’s perhaps your most important business asset. I just got a 2 Terabyte backup AND I use Carbonite, a subscription service. These are cheap compared to the time and agony of rebuilding and recreating my files. If we can help you make sure that your valuable information is being back-up regularly, let us know today.