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It can take you literally years to compile a database of customers and equipment, entering every customers name address, telephone number, email address etc. etc along with details of their equipment and site addresses, it’s a long hard process. So much so that the data collected becomes a valuable even vital business resource.

Of course no-one understands this better than a person that has just lost everything due to a hard drive failure, burglary or fire. Are you the type of person that realises the value of what you have built up, or are you the type that prefers to forget about such mundane matters. Over the years I have come into contact with many people that have suffered a hard drive failure or burglary (even experienced it myself). How you recover depends upon the actions you take now.

The do nothing approach
This is the lazy option. Decide that your computer is a modern reliable machine. Several of your database/accounts programs make an emergency hard drive backup so why worry. Well the problem here is that all of your eggs are in one basket i.e. a simple hard drive failure (that can happen at any time) has the opportunity to wipe you out, literally – your business could be totally jeopardised by a simple mechanical failure. This approach leaves you totally exposed.

The single USB drive approach
As a sensible person you backup your data at the end of every day to your USB drive. This way you always have a backup copy of your company data. Are you safe now? – not a hope. A defective USB stick has the opportunity to wipe out your entire database the next time you try a restore. At least this way you may be able to restore an emergency hard drive backup but you are still taking unnecessary risks.

The separate Backup hard drive.
These are becoming popular with many people where a separate hard drive automatically backs up your data on a regular basis. As an emergency option they can be extremely useful – are you safe now? Consider what would happen if your premises were burgled, or caught fire, or suffered a serious mains power strike. Everything could be lost. Imagine waking up tomorrow with no way to send out invoices or process service documents – this is serious stuff.

So what is the answer???
When you get right down to it your business is all about information and data. The more copies that you have of your data the more secure you are. In addition the backup copies need to be kept on more than one site so that burglary or fire do not cause you to lose it all. By all means backup your data to a USB stick – then take it home. Once a month (at least) copy your data from the data stick to a permanent medium such as a CD and label the CD as January backup etc.. Another good strategy is to keep another computer at home and restore your data to it every night. That way in the event of burglary, fire, hard drive failure etc you can be up and running the same day. Disks cost pennies, your data is priceless. BACK IT UP.