There are all sorts of “reinforcements” that help get you out of various situations. Think of the spare tire in your trunk, or the extra pieces of webbing in a climbing anchor. If you’ve ever been rock climbing, you know that it’s essential to build redundancies into your anchors; that way if one part fails, you’ve got another part as a backup. In the case that there is a fault with your computer, it is vital to keep duplicate copies of your most significant information saved in a remote location as it ensures the documents are kept safe.
The Top Five Reasons Why You Need to Backup Your Data
If you value the files stored on your computer, it’s wise to preserve your information from sudden loss.
When you think about it, there are various ways in which files can get lost unexpectedly:
Computer crashes – always seem to occur in the worst possible circumstances and can lead to loss of data.
Virus Infection – computer viruses can corrupt files and disable computers.
Hard drive failure – hard drives have a finite lifetime and can fail suddenly and without warning. The sudden death of a hard drive can cause the incommoding loss of months or years of irreplaceable files, and the timing can be catastrophic – if this happens close to work or college deadline it could be a nightmare scenario.
Physical computer damage – your files are more at risk if you use a laptop. Light and portable items come at the price of reduced durability. Laptops are sensitive and are easily damaged if dropped or have drinks and other substances spilled on them.
Theft – computers are sought after by thieves and are not always secure while traveling.
Bottom line, if you value the files stored on your computer, it’s wise to take measures to preserve your information from sudden loss. In climbing, a backup can save your life, but with data, it can save your business.
What Data Should You Safeguard?
Choosing what data to back up is an essential start to making sure you have a copy of all your businesses critical information. You should contemplate what information you would require for you to be able to continue working if your PC were to be stolen or damaged. Client addresses and telephone details, your account information, relevant documents. What about the Internet favorites and email addresses stored on your device? How long has it taken you to collate all this information and what would happen if you couldn’t get it back once lost? These are the fundamental elements that you should consider backing up.
With that said, let’s take a step back and establish the top five reasons why businesses require a proper data backup solution.
1. Simple Recovery
People are not infallible. They make mistakes, and actually, they make them quite often. Emails containing viruses are opened accidentally every day, and necessary files are often mistakenly deleted. There’s no reason to fear these issues if you take frequent incremental snapshots of your systems. You can only restore to a snapshot taken before the virus happened. Alternatively, you can recover the damaged file from a moment before the virus destroyed it. It is effortless to protect your data from the little things, and there’s the added benefit of being ready for the big things as well.
2. Competitive Advantage
In the unfortunate event of a disaster, the first business to get back up and running will take all of the sales from those that aren’t yet back on their feet. Not having a strategy can mean your doors close for good. Proper planning means that your doors stay open to those that worked with businesses that couldn’t endure data failure.
3. Fatal Downtime
A 2007 University of Texas study revealed that 43 percent of businesses that suffer major data loss never reopen. Many of these company’s experience closure within two years of a significant data loss. Moreover, scenarios of much prominent data loss are not always the result of a disaster. Human hands are very capable of destroying a business through silly mistakes or oversights. Only data reinforcements and having an adequate backup and disaster recovery strategy in place can help mitigate these types of threats. If you think ahead and plan appropriately, you can be one of the surviving businesses.
4. Audits, Taxes, and Archives
Many, if not most businesses, are required to keep business records for an extended period. This is either due to tax purposes or because of various regulations. You might just have to refer to what was occurring a few years ago. It is easy to assume that your computers have you covered just because they retain your last few years’ worth of information on them. However, as you might know by now, only saving one copy is a large mistake. Ensuring that you have got an offsite backup of critical client information can save you if something goes wrong locally. No-one cares that you had a data disaster when it comes to audits. All it means is that you are not compliant and that you can receive a fine.
5. Doing Work Twice
The first rule of doing work is “do it right the first time.” If you suffer a minor failure and don’t have reinforcements, you may be able to recover certain things, but you never know what those “certain things” may be. In almost any case, you’ll have an abundance of work to redo; whether it’s setting systems up all over again or recreating spreadsheets you or your employees have been working on for months. Worse yet, if you suffer a significant data loss, you could feasibly end up redoing everything you’ve ever done—that’s a situation very few companies survive.
What types of backup are there?
There are various types of backup available, and the one you choose will depend on time, security and budget. There are some frequently used reinforcement solutions which will suit your needs.
Individuals tend to use memory stick devices for smaller backups or mobile users. These are usually removable hard drives and are very common. The disadvantages of these cheaper devices are that they are at times unreliable and easy to lose or damage due to their small size. The data held on them is usually unsecured, meaning customer details or financial information kept on them is at a greater risk if they were to be lost or used by unauthorized personnel. When completing a backup, the previous backup is overwritten, meaning you can only store one version of the backup.
Tape reinforcements are an old industry standard backup medium for businesses with a reasonable amount of data to backup. You can perform daily, weekly and monthly backups and as long as you have a consistent tape rotation and store the tapes offsite, it is an easy to use backup solution. The disadvantages of tape are that it is both slow to backup and to restore. As it is a manual process, it can be subject to human error and may be submitted to the same threats as the first reinforcement, unless you remember to take the tapes offsite on a daily basis.
Online data backup is a preferred choice for small and medium businesses as there is no need to purchase hardware or software, just a small monthly cost. You select the data you want to backup, and it is transferred in an encrypted format across the internet to a high-security data center. The backups are fully automated, meaning no user intervention is required and you can restore single files or full backups at the click of a mouse; total protection and availability make this a desirable option. Different versions of backups are available; this covers accidental changes made or deletions.
Other things to consider when backing up is always to test your copied data – a backup is useless if it cannot restore correctly. Backup regularly, you do not want to find out the last copy you made is four months old. Keep your backups off site, that way if you do lose data to a fire/flood/theft you know you can retrieve your information.