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Why backups are important to your business (and your life!)

Often when this conversation arises, the most common response is usually…

“…oh I know I should but haven’t got round to it yet”

Many of the benefits of having backups – whether they are digital or hard copies – are transferable in your personal life too.

When I talk about backups, I’m referring to a safe copy (or copies) of information that would seriously impact your business should an unexpected event occur.

This may include events such as flood damage, loss of electricity, building collapse, fire (electrical, arson), hardware error or damage, criminal (theft, cyber attack, terrorism), human error such as misplacing or losing the information, keys to that information or insidious behaviour.

How might you recover from such events to get back up and running?

It’s handy to have a plan of action or contingency in place.

For myself, currently working from home, I have buildings and contents insurance and business insurance.

So if anything were to happen to my physical surroundings or my computer I should be covered. The data I need to keep save on my computer is another matter entirely – and extremely important considering what my line of work is.

I don’t keep papers, I scan everything, I keep a copy on a spare external hard drive and a copy in the cloud. I delete logins after I complete a project because I don’t want someone else’s information on my computer.

I make backups of website on my computer and in a repo online should there be any unexpected issues. Old projects are backed up onto discs in stores elsewhere, should I really need to dig into the archives.

A new process I will be introducing is, when a project ends, all files relating to that will be backed up onto DVD and sent to the client. After all it is their content and media, I feel they should have responsibility for taking care of that.

From working in previous employment I’ve learned how many businesses don’t do any form of backups.

Accountants not backing-up their accounts software for themselves and clients.

Sole traders not keeping their receipts or records saved in a physical folder or scanning them ready for self assessment, or god forbid, investigation.

Contingency is key

If you and/or your staff are sat for hours or days twiddling their thumbs because you can’t get back to work or find that file, that’s a waste of your time and essentially money.

So it is worth creating an “if this, then that” plan, for example, if you have an electrical failure and can’t use the computer(s) then you could have paperwork you can use to take calls and orders over the phone (landline).

If there are floods and I can’t get into work, then I can login to my emails at home or at a local library.

Some great tools you can use, that I actively use myself are:

  • Western Digital My Passport Ultra – external hard drive
  • Amazon Basics 8 sheet Strip cut Shredder
  • Epson XP-305 Printer and Scanner
  • using Google Chrome and logging in with your Gmail account
  • using email forwarders so you get emails in more than one location
  • printable contingency plan

Caroline Hagan

Caroline brings over 15 years as a Designer and Developer; featured in .NET magazine, the only woman in the UK accredited for Google Mobile Sites. A business mentor with Enterprise Nation, STEM Ambassador and Google Women Techmaker Ambassador Previous client projects include Blackberry, FIAT, Clark Shoes and Sky.

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