One Tech Rule You Need to Know
There is one technology rule that even the most seasoned IT professional cannot prevent from happening: All Hard Drives Fail! So even if you’re not a computer whiz, you should be familiar with the term “backup.” Unfortunately, too many businesspeople aren’t familiar with or have forgotten its importance. But repeating the rule under your breath three times and saying it frequently to your employees will lead to sound backup strategies.
Most PCs rely on a single hard drive called C. This drive runs the machine and stores business data. More robust PCs and servers run multiple drives called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). However, having multiple drives doesn’t guarantee an extra copy of your data. Sometimes data are split between disks for faster performance. Each piece of business information exists on only one disk. In simple terms, if someone sells you RAID, you still need a plan for drive failure.
What Should I Back Up?
Deciding what to back up, and how often, depends on your tolerance for business interruption. One option is a full system image backup. In this case, you create a master image for each PC model you own. When a hard drive fails (notice I didn’t say “if”), its replacement will run instantly with a copy of that image. A data backup is a more simple procedure, but it will not protect all the information on your computer. While you’ll retain your data (documents, spreadsheets, photos, etc.), you may lose software programs.
Where Do I Store Backed-Up Information?
External hard drives are inexpensive relative to the value of your data. Buy at least two for each computer and use them regularly. Copy all your data to both drives and put one copy off-site. Rotate the copies and keep them current.
Cloud storage services are a newer option. For an annual fee, you can copy data to a vendor’s site using the Internet. If you have large files, however, the cloud could be cost prohibitive. Internet security is also something to think about. If you’re unsure about using the cloud, keep things simple with portable drives.
Make the Effort
Backing up data sounds like work and, to some degree, it is. But a little regular maintenance will save you heartache down the road. While the odds that your data will be destroyed by a fire, flood, or tornado might be slim, the odds of avoiding a hard drive failure are not. Be prepared.