In my opinion over 50% of small businesses in NZ would have no or inadequate backups of their important data. If I had a dollar for every time someone brought in a dead computer and had no back up I would be on a beach somewhere rather than writing this missive. When the unexpected happens a business’ ability to function can literally vanish in a puff of smoke. Without backup systems business owners are putting their future livelihoods at risk and yet many are reluctant to spend any money on this vital aspect of their business. It’s no use saying ‘it won’t happen to me’, just ask the businesses that were put out of action by the Christchurch earthquake simply because they couldn’t access the hardware that held their critical data. Computers are made by humans not handed down from some superior being. They are often made from the cheapest components (‘cos people don’t want to pay too much), so to think they will keep working forever is totally unrealistic. ALL HARDWARE WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL. Every small business owner should ask him or herself ‘How many days data would I lose if my computer was stolen or failed today?’ and ‘Could my business continue without that data?’
Making a Good Backup Plan
Making any kind of backup reduces your risk of losing your data. Here are some tips for making effective backups to further reduce the risk:
- Back Up Regularly. Get into a routine of regularly doing backups. How often you should back up depends on how often your data changes. If you have new customer data coming in every day then you should back up every day.
- Have Different Backups. Keep two separate copies of your backups, and keep them at different locations. This means that if someone breaks in and steals your laptop and hard drive you still have a copy of the data elsewhere. Using a Cloud backup system in conjunction with a physical system (hard drive or memory stick) is one option.
- Have an Offline Backup. If you’re using a memory stick or external hard drive as a backup device, disconnect it from your network each day. If it’s left connected anything that affects your machine will affect the backup as well.
- Routinely Check your Backup System. It’s critical that you make sure that your backups work and that your stored data is as it should be. Check that your machine is malware-free before you restore from a hard drive backup. Test restores should be part of your backup strategy. A backup that you cannot restore from is worthless.
- Protect your Backed Up Data with Passwords. Ensure your stored data is protected from unauthorised access with a strong password. You should apply two-factor authentication if it’s available.
Here endeth the lesson.
If you would like us to carry out an audit of your backup system please contact us on 07 827 7119 or at firstname.lastname@example.org