A fire ravaged through your office building. Soot and water covers everything the fire didn’t destroy. How do you recover your electronic data, such as accounting and other valuable documents you left behind last night? If you are prepared and have off-site backups, how long will it take to restore that data – and how old are these backups? Running a business is all about overcoming risk. But there’s one type of risk that most businesses aren’t protecting themselves from. That threat can be catastrophic – the risk of forever losing critical computer data from viruses, natural disasters, theft or even terrorism.
But don’t fear. Reducing the risk of computer data loss is actually easier than most business owners think. The key is to have a plan and stick to it. There are a number of products available to help business owners back up their critical computer data. But before you decide on any particular product, be sure to ask about the following items:
Cost is the number-one factor influencing business owners when it comes to a back-up solution. Does your solution provider charge you for one software license per server, or does it charge you for a license for every workstation in your firm? Depending on how many workstations you have, there is one choice that will be most cost-effective for you. Find out how you are being charged in advance.
Hardware vs. Software
Is your back-up procedure an easy-to-use software solution that runs on standard hardware, or does it require you to purchase specialty hardware systems such as tape drives? Backup tapes wear out and should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, depending on usage, in order for you to be sufficiently protected. Therefore the price of the tapes and the hardware systems need to be factored into the overall cost.
Ease of Use
Do you have a hands-free solution, or do you need to hire somebody to take care of your backups? Some solutions require employees to switch out tapes, catalog them, make copies for off-site storage and search through them in order to restore lost data. Others use standard servers and hard drives to store data. If you have an IT department, the ease of use is not as important as it is for the average worker in a standard small office. Technical solutions require technical expertise to be effective. Does your firm have the necessary human resources?
Real Time Back-Ups
Your back-up is only as good as the last time you did it. If your workers backed up data at the close of business last night and then worked on it all day until disaster struck at 4 pm, a whole day’s work needs to be redone. However, more and more back-up systems are moving to real-time back-up technology. Why waste an entire day of work with end-of-day back-ups? Verify how often they will be done and when the most recent file will be accessible.
The most important thing to remember is this: starting today, your business can’t afford not to have a back-up solution. Some businesses, such as banks and medical offices, are required by law to have disaster-recovery solutions. Doing a little bit of homework in advance on the wide variety of solutions available will make your choice easier and give you the peace of mind you desire.