For modern businesses, we would be nowhere without our data. Even the most service oriented business relies on their data to keep them operational, and so making sure it’s protected is an essential business practice. Regardless of how it happens – whether by hardware failure, theft, virus or just human error – data loss can be a very costly problem. If you lose data unique to your business, like financial reports, client information or system instructions, your business could be down for days, face fines or total closure. This month All Your Computers brings you 5 simple and cost effective steps to avoid data loss in your business, letting you focus on running your business instead.
A lot of businesses tend to assume that storing their data in a location away from their main operating system is enough to secure their data. And while this is always a good idea (in case of corruptions to the main operating systems) it doesn’t quite cut it from a data security perspective. This is our main mantra at All Your Computers – run regular, on and offsite backups for your data. If you run multiple backups, then you are reducing the risk of one of those backups failing (it can happen!) and increasing your odds of being able to retrieve a file if something does go wrong with it.
One of the most common reasons documents or files become corrupt is because a proper shut down procedure was not followed. Some people don’t shut down their machines at all if they can help it, and leave them running all the time. While this may stop certain complications, it will cause problems in terms of heat output and hardware lifespan. It’s incredibly important that before you turn off your machine that you have saved your data and fully closed all running programmes. This reduces the risk of data loss and program corruption.
Power failures are a computer users worst nightmare, and because they are unexpected they are the most difficult form of data loss to prepare for. Invest a little money into some high quality surge protectors for your machines, and hook them all up to a UPS (or uninterrupted power supply). A surge protector will protect your machines from voltage spikes that typically precede power failures, preventing machine failure or destruction. A UPS is slightly different. These look a lot like extension leads, and act as an emergency generator for anything you plug into them for a short amount of time. This means that if you have a power cut, your machine will stay on for a while, giving you enough time to save everything and shut it down, preventing data loss or corruption.
Of course today we don’t just keep our data on our computers. The amount of data we keep on our mobile phones and devices is extraordinary, and it’s no wonder this becomes a concern for some businesses. Whether the devices are our own or belong to the business doesn’t really matter at this stage – the data is still there and at risk. If that device becomes damaged, lost or stolen, your data has gone with it, so it’s important to keep track of it. There is also a wonderful function available through apps and software on most devices called ‘remote wipe’ that can save the day. This function allows you to remotely access the device, wherever it is, and wipes all of the data on it, leaving it blank. This is particularly useful if a business device is stolen, or if an employee leaves the company and takes the device and all it’s data with them. You shouldn’t need to use this function very often, but it’s always worth knowing how to do it.
One of the biggest indicators that something is about to go wrong with your computer or device is sound. A hard drive that is struggling and about to fail will whirr, drone, beep or buzz, letting you know that something is wrong. A mobile device will get hot and start to close applications down unexpectedly, and a server might start clicking or whirring loudly. If you hear any unusual noises from your devices, safe what you’re doing and shut down immediately. These noises usually indicate a mechanical problem with your device, which if left unchecked could result in data loss.
And there you have it. While data loss might be a terrifying concept, it’s actually really easy to avoid. Just follow these 5 simple steps and you will be protecting yourself against the most common causes of data loss. If you aren’t sure about your data loss processes, or just want a chat about how you could protect your business, get in touch today for a free consultation.