Backing Up the Data in Your Small Business

Though many small business owners spend significant amounts of time and money getting the right virus protection and security solutions for their computer systems, backing up data is often neglected. The truth is, however, that any business that relies on its data (which is most businesses these days) should make good data backup solutions a priority.

Why should you back up data?

With so many threats to your valuable business information this question is really a no-brainer. From power surges to viruses, or just plain age and overuse, PC hard drives can and will fail. If your only data backup is on a computer, and the hard disk fails or is damaged, then your business data is gone.

Having physical paper copies of business data is also not adequate protection, due to the possibility of theft, fire, and flooding. Do not leave data backup as an afterthought for when it is to late.

What should you backup?

When it comes to business data protection the general rule is if losing a particular kind of data will interfere with the way you do business, then back it up. For most businesses this information includes: customer databases, payroll records, income and sales records, important emails, addresses, as well as to-do-lists and schedules. All of the files that you have created and modified should also be backed up on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that you can always reinstall any software programs if you need to, but recovering the details of business transactions or important correspondence is impossible if those files are either irretrievably lost or damaged.

How should you chose the right method?

There are many reliable data backup solutions on the market available for small businesses, including backup software programs, tape backups, external hard drives, and off-site backup services. To determine which method is right for you and your business, you need to answer the following questions:

1. What kind of data needs to be backed up?

2. How sensitive is your data?

3. What are your physical and financial resources?

How often should you back up your data?

The answer to this question will really depend on the circumstances of your business as well as the method or methods of data backup that you have chosen. If you are using a backup software program, then you can usually set a schedule that will archive your data automatically. If your data backup system is on-site, then it would be worthwhile to back up your data on a daily basis, or at least a few times a week.

If you have the means to make physical backups that can be moved off-site, such as a tape backup, then it would be advisable to perform a data backup in this way at least once or twice a week.

Bottom line here is that you need to keep your data backups current and consistent. A good data backup solution is just good business sense.

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