We can get caught up in running our company and living our life and forget about something that is more important to a modern business than sales and profits and almost as critical as passing on withheld taxes to the IRS. What am I referrring to? Data backup. Failing to maintain a current backup of your computer data can shut down your business faster than Uncle Sugar can padlock your shop for back taxes.
You know the reasons you need to back up your data. Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is data or equipment loss due to an accident or natural disaster. Flood, tornado, hurricane, landslide, volcanic eruption -- don't laugh--if you happened to live at Clark Field in the Philippines when Pinatubo blew your PC would have ended up under 15 feet of ash. I've personally never lost data due to such events, but they happen. Far more likely data loss situations: 1) Your hard drive gives up on life, 2) a power spike cooks your circuits (what, you don't have a UPS or at least a surge protector?), 3) someone makes a careless mistake , 4) an irate or former employee wipes your drive or 5) a virus gets to your system.
The worst part of data loss is that one minute you can be cruising along in business as usual mode and the next you are literally incapable of doing business. If you don't have a solid backup plan then stop, right now and do what it takes to protect your data and your business!
What needs to be done? It is not difficult to figure this out. Do a web search for "data backup" in favorite search engine (my choice now is www.DuckDuckGo.com, but that is another story).
Follow these steps to create a plan:
1) Identify critical business data which must be available to keep your business going. Don't forget contracts, art files, correspondence, tax records, receipts and accounting records.
2) For critical paper documents like supplier contracts, consider moving originals or a copy to a bank deposit box.
3) Determine for each type of data how often it changes. For example, contracts don't change but order data, art files, correspondence and accounting records change and daily.
4) Set up a regular backup procedure for each type of data. Keeping it simple, you could have a Daily Backup, a Weekly Backup and a annual. For data, the availability of low cost physical data drives and now Cloud based backup over the web means that you can save everything every day without breaking the bank. One business owner I know uses a cloud backup service, which runs every two hours to back up up to the cloud all changes on the company server, including the EmbTrak database on MS SQL Server. This is the height of convenience and simplicity. However, the Luddite in me wonders what happens if the web goes down (I know, end of the world and all that). Like the redundant systems on a spacecraft, I want a backup once a week of critical data to a portable hard drive which is swapped out weekly with another portable hard drive in the bank deposit box.
Our Enterprise customers are running the full Business or Enterprise versions of Microsoft SQL Server, which provides a way to automate backup of every important data file in the company--that is, if it is used. When we work with any company, we strongly recommend they set up a daily backup of the EmbTrak database and their art files, in addition to other records important to their business. Sometimes we find that even good size companies with IT staff will overlook that need. If you're an EmbTrak customer and want help with setting up an automated data backup plan on MS SQL Server, call us, we can help.
Our Express customers often use Microsoft's free MS SQL Server Express version for their database. It is solid, but it lacks the automated backup plan feature. For that reason, we have created a guide to doing a periodic manual backup of the EmbTrak database in the Documentation and Help menu of our www.EmbTrak.com website. Go to https://embtrak.com/Documentation/manually-backing-up-a-database.html.
Like Nike says, "Just Do It!"