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The Importance of a Good Data Backup Plan

Our Service Manager recently did an on-site service call to a small, local business. The business had been vandalized and their only computer was stolen…. Along with the backup drive located next to the computer and the USB flash drive (also next to the computer), that contained a secondary back up.

The business owner was also backing up to the cloud, but all info about where the backup was and how to get it back, well… you guessed it. It was on the stolen computer.

All the business and tax records, all the customer data and sales information – it was all gone in an instant. There was nothing that we could do to help the owner recover her company’s data.

Unfortunately, the owner went out of business about two weeks after the vandalism, after realizing that recovering from all the loss was nearly impossible.

We’ve talked about backing up your data before. And we’ve talked about keeping a local back up (external USB hard drive, etc.), as well as backing up to the cloud. The owner was doing all this, but it wasn’t enough.

Another thing to consider is that “data backup” does just that, it backs up your data only. That does not mean your application software (such as Word, Excel, Quicken, etc.) are backed up or your Operating System (OS). If you are only backing up your “data”, and a disaster strikes it will be necessary to reload the OS and your application software.

To protect yourself against data loss:
  • Utilize a local USB drive of some sort (hard drive or flash drive)
  • Store the backup device in another location – at least another room, hopefully in a water-proof/fire-proof safe, and preferably to an offsite location
  • Test your backup to be sure you can actually restore in case of a disaster
  • Keep your procedure for backing up locally and from the cloud, in another location
Types of backup devices and services:
  • USB flash drive – inexpensive, good for small amounts of data, but can be lost or damaged easily
  • External Hard Drive – also inexpensive these days, even up to 4TB of data storage.
  • External Hard Drive with removable drives – good choices if you want to leave the backup device next to the computer and remove the data drive to another location
  • Cloud-based services like Carbonite. You can opt for data only back up or a full image of your computer, which would include your programs, operating systems and data.