Backup is one of those things that everybody knows they should be doing, but not many people actually do. And if they do, odds are they are not paying as much attention as they should be. But not only do your backups keep your IT department happy, but they also make your business more secure, and will save you from a lot of extra costs, lost revenue and lots of stressful time spent trying to fix broken computers.
A backup is a copy of all the data files on your computer system that is stored in a remote location, away from the original machines. These copies can be made and stored in a variety of ways, such as cloud backups, tapes, USBs and even NAS and server storage, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. The important factors for a backup are that they should be made frequently, and they should be stored separately from the systems they are copies of. That way if the building you are working in catches fire you are able to restore the systems from the backups. Backups not only give you peace of mind, but they also save you a lot of time and money should something terminal happen to your systems and files. Instead of paying someone to spend a lot of time restoring files, you can just boot up from a backup and carry on as normal.
Because essentially, if your computers all broke down tomorrow, your backups are the only thing that can get you back up and running from where you left off. Data is the most important aspect of your computer systems, without it they are just empty shells. Think about all that data you use every day in your business – customer files, supplier details, accounting records, access keys. Now imagine you don’t have any access to it. How would your business cope? For a lot of businesses, this could be catastrophic, and there is only one way to protect against it – and that’s backing up your data.
Now if you back up your systems once a year, this won’t do you much good. That’s why most businesses run a daily backup (usually in the evening while the systems aren’t in use) to ensure that, if something were to go wrong, the loss would be minimal. It might sound like paranoid, but you would be surprised how many ways your data could be lost. Viruses could infect and corrupt your computer systems, power failures and power spikes could fry the machines, systems could crash, floods, fires, theft or vandalism could render your systems useless, or it could be something as simple as a user error. But if you have a working, up to date backup of all of your data, you can restore the data and get operations back up and running.
This might sound daft, but it’s important to make sure that your backup has actually worked. We have come across many horror stories where a customer goes to restore their systems after a failure, only to find out that their backups have been failing as well. So every time you make a backup of your data, you should make sure it actually works. If you are backing up onto tapes or USB drives and sending them home on trains with your employees, make sure they are tested when they get to their destination – as they could have been wiped by the magnetic fields. If you are running cloud backups, make sure you run a test at least once a month to restore a system completely from the backup.
Don’t put off learning how to create and restore backups until you absolutely have to, instead take a little bit of time to research, explore and learn about your backup system and how it works. Changes and upgrades happen all the time, so it’s important to keep up to date. If you need advice or help installing or running your backups, just give us a call for your free consultation.