What’s Your Data Backup Plan?

John Lennon has a line in one of his songs, it goes something like “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Nothing could be more on point than what happened to a consulting client I’ve been working with, who this week woke up to all of his data on his network being gone…everything. Not a single file to be found.

As we begin a new year, we take stock in how our business performed, what we could have done better and what we can do in 2017 to improve. One thing I am going to suggest is backing up.

Don’t Lose Out—Protect Your Data

When your computer is for personal use, a crash can be a real pain if your data wasn’t backed up. If the computer you’re using to run your business isn’t backed up, a crash could be devastating. It could take months to replace the data you lose, and much of it may have to be rebuilt, costing you precious time and money.

You need a line of protection against this kind of loss

The first line of protection for your computer is getting software to protect it from viruses, worms, and other malicious software that could ruin or steal information or even trash your whole computer. While many people spend a lot of money on software programs, there are great virus scanners, and other protective software online for free.

Just because you have protective software, doesn’t mean it’s going to block every threat that might attack your computer. Even if you have protective programs, you still need to be aware of new ways hackers are using to get into your computer and use common sense. There are all kinds of web pages that will alert you to the newest cons and viruses going around and how to avoid them.

One of the most important things you can do to keep from losing data is to back it up. Here are some common ways to back up your data so you still have it in case it’s accidentally lost:

  • CD: Burning Data onto CDs is a quick and easy way to back it up. However, it can be time-consuming and a CD can easily be scratched and damaged and only lasts for so long.
  • Flash Drives: These are similar to CDs. You can easily put information from your computer onto a flash drive and then detach them to store for safety or transfer them to another computer. The difference is that a flash drive is not written once and then you’re done. While most CD drives can add files, they can’t delete them or change the files. Flash drives can be erased and rewritten just like any other drive on your computer.
  • External hard drives: This is a great way to backup large amounts of data. An external hard drive is generally just like the memory in your computer, but it can be detached and put in another space. Unlike flash drives, you can get hard drives with very large amounts of space.

    Most people shy away from external hard drives because of the price, but if you compare the amount of data they store, they are well worth the money.

  • Data Back-up Services: The problem with drives that attach to your computer and then detach for storage is that they can often be damaged when your computer is. A virus on your computer can easily transfer to another drive without your knowledge. And if your computer is destroyed in a flood or fire, there’s a good chance your external drive will be too.

The good news is, there are all kinds of services now that will back up your data for you. They generally cost a monthly or yearly rate for a certain amount of space, so the cost will vary with what kind of business you have. The one I use is Carbonite, do a Google search and check them out.

I also use Google Drive to put everything we work on in the cloud. That way, if any one machine craps the bed, we can log on anywhere and our files are available.

Remember that backing up your data once only does so much good. If you don’t back up regularly, you’re still in danger of having a major loss.

My next week is going to be helping someone who is on the brink of a nervous breakdown because his entire marketing plan for 2017 just went bye-byes, luckily, we have most of it internally here, backed up in the cloud. Do you?

Darren Slaughter is the founder and president of DarrenSlaughter.com, a digital agency focusing on website design, social media management, and content creation for home improvement contractors.