Personal Small Business Enterprise

Backup 101

Data is the lifeblood of your business. Take good care of it and it can help you get closer to your customers, make more and better deals, and operate more efficiently. Lose it and you could be out of business before you know it.

Survey results compiled by RealWare show that 60 per cent of small businesses could face bankruptcy within six months of a major data loss – and that number rises to 90 per cent after two years. With these sobering statistics in mind, taking care of your data isn’t just convenient, it’s crucial to your company’s future. Keep the following in mind as you start to build your own data protection and backup strategy:

1. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Almost every company is at risk of suffering some level of data loss. Even if you are extraordinarily careful in everything you do, technology could fail or your staff could make mistakes, and you could potentially be exposed to data loss. Plan for the inevitable.

2. Avoid over-reliance on individuals. If you assign the task to one individual, what happens if that individual leaves the company or falls ill? Build redundancy into critical tasks like data backup.

3. Don’t just back up. Restore, too. It isn’t enough to back up your data. You have to test to ensure restoring it will work, as well. I once worked for an organization that never ran any test-restores, and only after a major system failure did IT realize its backups hadn’t been working properly for over a year.

4. Use geography to your advantage. Store backed up data off site. That way, if a fire or other disaster levels your office, you’ll be able to pick up the pieces.

5. Recognize where data threats come from. We can lose data in any number of ways, such as fire, natural disaster, power outage or spikes, equipment failure, hacking, sabotage or even employee forgetfulness. Understand the sources of loss and make sure you have response plans for each of them.

6. Go online. Increasingly affordable online services like Data Protect from Bell make data backup a seamless process for you and your staff. No more needing to remember to run the backup or bring a tape home. Once you’re subscribed, it runs in the background.

The Bottom Line
There’s far more to the data backup story, and in future blog entries we’ll look more deeply at business continuity planning, and data’s role within it. For now, however, take a look around your own organization and start closing some of the more obvious gaps. It could do more than save your job someday – it could save your company, as well.

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