Tip: Offsite backups are your digital insurance policy

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Tip: Offsite backups are your digital insurance policy

An insurance payout might refurbish your office and replace lost stock after a fire or flood, but what about the precious data that was stored on your computers?

 

If disaster strikes your business, there's more to getting back on your feet than simply rebuilding your premises.

An insurance payout might refurbish your office and replace lost stock, but what about the precious data that was stored on your computers?

Purchase orders, receipts, bank statements, tax records, contact databases, client files and ongoing projects are the kinds of data that could be difficult or even impossible to replace. Even the smallest of businesses could struggle to recover from such as disaster.

If your business can't afford to lose everything then you can afford to spend some time and money putting a decent backup system in place. The backup system for many small businesses might extend to copying important files to a USB stick, or perhaps a central server or Network Attached Storage drive, but this isn't going to protect your data if fire or flood claims your premises.

Ready to dive deeper on this topic? Read our guide to the best backup strategy

Something as simple as a burst water main could destroy all your computers and your backups. That's why it's vital to make offsite copies of your important data, to keep it safe should a disaster wipe out your premises.

USB sticks, Google Drive and DropBox

One option is to regularly cycle USB sticks or hard drives off premises but the rise of fast, cheap internet access makes online backups more practical than ever. Even a free consumer-grade syncing service such as Google Drive or Dropbox is better than nothing.

Business-grade backup

From here it's worth investigating the extra features and flexibility of paid consumer and business-grade backup services which support multiple computers. It's important to evaluate your needs and run a small trial before spending the time uploading all your precious data. Thankfully once you've been through the first full backup you can simply make small incremental backups which only upload new or changed files.

How often you backup really depends on how much work you can afford to lose. Once you know how much a disaster would cost in terms of lost productivity, and perhaps lost business, you've a better idea of what you can afford to spend in order to avert such a disaster.

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