Guest Blog – Why Backup is important for small businesses

In the first of our guest blog’s, Michelle Smith from ValueAdd Business Solutions discusses why Backup is so important for sole traders and that it is simple and affordable to put in place. Michelle has had a recent issue where she relied on a backup, so is talking from experience!

Why Back up My Data?

The main purpose of backing up your data is to protect it in case of disaster; an insurance policy against any virus, power failures, physical disk errors or even operator errors because recovering lost data can be a costly exercise, both in terms of time and money.

Let me paint a scene for you: You’ve spent all day perfecting a report and finally you think you have it spot on. Then disaster! Your laptop crashes and you have lost everything you worked so hard on. Alternatively imagine that you have all your photos of your family and friends stored on your hard drive, but suddenly it fails and there is no way to retrieve them (unless you want to pay a small fortune), all your memories are now lost forever.

Believe it or not those are only two relatively minor instances of the effect of data loss due to not backing up files. Imagine if the data lost was all your accounting data, or if you were a business and you lost your entire client files.  The good news is that data loss should now be a thing of the past and there are a multitude of affordable options available to ensure you never lose your digital data again.

Top Ways to Back Up your Data

1.      Traditional back up methods

 You could back up your material the old fashioned way, simply by having multiple copies stored in a variety of places, including your hard drive and a variety of removable storage solutions such as a flash stick or external hard-drive. Many people back up their entire PC / Laptop hard drive regularly using Microsoft Backup or Time Machine to an external drive so if their laptop / PC gets lost, stolen or broken they haven’t lost any of their data.

Enabling auto save on most document sometimes helps and do remember to save regularly especially if you are backing up by more traditional methods

2.      Online backup and Cloud Computing

Thankfully these days you don’t have to back your data up onto a physical device. Due to increase speed in broadband and fibre optic connections you can now backup, upload and store the contents of your entire hard drive online with a variety of providers.

You can also buy online storage that you can drop your files into straight from your desktop and sync regularly to ensure you have the most up to date file available. Many of these services such as Dropbox and Google Drive for data and Picasa or Photobucket for images, are free up to a certain amount of storage space (the free packages are often more than enough for most freelancers and casual users).

Many of the online storage solutions have the added advantage, that with the advent of Cloud computing, your data can be available on multiple devices (such as your tablet, smart phone, laptop etc) wherever you have an Internet connection. Many of these services also allow you to share files and data and edit them in real-time with your co-workers or clients

3.      Email back-up

One tried and tested method of backing up small files, such as word documents, excel files, PowerPoint presentations and PDF’s, is to set up a free online email account such as Gmail, Yahoo, Mail.com or Hotmail and simply email a copy of the document over to yourself. This is the old school drop-box with the advantages of being able to access it from anywhere you can get your email, but without the Dropbox or Google Drive functions of automatically syncing and updating the data as you edit and make changes.

The other good news is that most of the free back up and cloud storage service providers have intuitive easy to use interfaces and guarantee that your data will remain 100% secure.

Next steps

You might decide that not everything is worth backing up. Firstly, decide which media you’re going to use? (If you’re extra cautious like me you’ll backup client files to more than one). Secondly, decide which method you’re going to use. Then decide which files/folder you want to backup and remember not everything is worth backing up daily. Lastly, set a schedule for the backup. If you’re a home user then weekly or even monthly backups should be sufficient but a business user really should be thinking about backing up every day.

ValueAdd Business Solutions are a pool of associates with experience in many aspects of business including Office Administration, Bookkeeping, Social Media, Business Support, Marketing & HR. Servicing clients across Scotland (and even as far as Canada!), ValueAdd can provide that extra pair of hands when needed.

For more information on their services, call Michelle on 0141 442 0042 or email info@valueaddvirtual.co.uk

ValueAdd can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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