Can Your Business Do Without Computer Backups?

, SEO Gold Coast

If you are like most people, you keep most of your data nowadays only on computer, in digital format. Paper files, photograph albums and music tapes are consigned to history. In other words, all your life is on your computer. So what would you do if you lost it all? The idea is frightening enough for your personal records, but for a business, it could spell absolute disaster.

The surprising thing is that there are still large numbers of personal and business users who have never got around to considering the idea of computer backups, even though they know they ought to. Perhaps you are one of them. In most cases the thinking seems to be that data is lost through calamitous events like fire and flood, and these are so unlikely to happen that backing up is not a justifiable expense.

Actually, this could not be further from the truth. Apart from the fact that fires and floods seem to happen on an increasingly frequent basis, there are plenty of other, less dramatic, events that can cause data loss and computer crashes, and these can happen at any time.

Let Me Tell You My Story…

Data Recovery Can Be Less Stressful If Backup Is Available

Last week, I was working on my nearly 3 year old computer with my usual mug of coffee beside my elbow, when the phone rang. It made me jump, and as I swiveled round to answer it, of course my elbow knocked the coffee mug. The coffee went all over the keyboard, and some splashed on to the computer case.

I immediately heard the computer fan start to run very fast, making a very strange noise. I thought I had better try to restart the computer, but it wouldn’t restart. I just got a message saying “Alert — air temperature sensor not detected”, and then saw what I later found is called the blue screen of death. I called my computer guy but the damage was irretrievable — the hard drive was fried. That’s how easily it can happen.

I am now the proud owner of a shiny new computer with all the trimmings, which I needed anyway as my old one didn’t have much longer to live. However, what is frightening is thinking what would have happened if I hadn’t religiously backed up my data to an external hard drive several times per day. Note: Apart from losing all the records for the business I run from home, I would have lost all my photographs of lots of wonderful holidays and family occasions. And of course all my music I have spent years gathering. As it was, I just had to provide my password and everything could be downloaded to my new computer, from the backup service where it was stored. I will own up, I left it to my computer guy to do.

What Would Happen To Your Business If You Lost All Your Data

Losing all my data through a coffee spill would have been disastrous enough for me, but if you are a larger business completely dependent on its computer data, losing it could be completely catastrophic. Try to put a price on losing details of all suppliers and customers, records of all accounts payable to the company, all bills to be paid, and invoices for all goods or services provided. In addition, you might have stored records of every product your company currently stocks, the quantities of each product, the amounts on order, plus the supplier, cost price and selling price of every product. Consider whether your company would have the capacity to reinstate all this manually, and even if you would, how much it would cost in employee hours and downtime.

Even if you have a rule forbidding cups of coffee on employees’ desks, bear in mind that over 2,000 computers are stolen from businesses in Australia each year. There were even more companies that encountered virus attacks, computer crashes or hard disk failure, and some even experienced fire and flood. Many of these will have closed their doors for ever. Luckily for us all the records of our Search Engine Optimisation business are safe, even if I needed to update my accounting software to cope with Windows 8

Backup Solutions

All this could have been saved by using computer backups, such as the Backup and Recovery service provided by Acronis. Your data is stored at a remote site or in the cloud, and there is storage for unlimited amounts of data, which can be restored quickly when required, thus saving you valuable time. For Mac users, Time Machine (Mac) is the default option for backing up files, and is very easy to use.

Remember Always To Backup Your Data

Losing your personal data can be devastating enough, but losing your business data can make all the difference as to whether your business survives or not. You need to be certain you are doing everything you possibly can to protect your precious information, and you should preferably consider it before, rather than after, disaster strikes.

Dropbox Review

, SEO Gold Coast

These days we all have multiple computing devices. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, PC and Mac, and it can be a huge issue to ensure that you have the file you need right now on the device you are currently working on.

File sizes these days are larger than ever. Trying to find a way to send files from one user to another user or just to one of your devices can be a big pain.

Dropbox solves these issues rather neatly. It is a rather clever file sharing service that is easy to install, easy to use and comes with a free plan that allows you 2 GB of space. To get more space Dropbox has plans that include $10 per month for 100 GB right up to $50 per month for 500 GB

Dropbox allows access to all your files no matter what device you are working on because it’s an Internet based service. When you download Dropbox you sign up for your own account with your own secure username and password.

With Dropbox it is possible to gain fast access to your files. Most files upload and sync quickly. We do a lot of work with videos and these large files can take quite a while to sync.

Dropbox

You can share files remotely which means that Dropbox is suitable for outsourcers, contractors, remote employees, family or anyone who has Internet availability. If “free” is what you’re looking for then Dropbox is for you The free plan give you 2GB of storage space. You can get more space by inviting other users to share your files. Each additional user that you invite earns you 500 MB of extra space up to 16 GB.

Dropbox works on all platforms; Mac, PC and Linux and it works on all mobile devices; iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.

SEO Web Magic has a $10 per month plan which gives us 100GB as a starting point. As we work with a large number of outsourcers and contractors from all over the planet, our storage is currently at 115 GB without extra cost. We believe that the $10 plan is great value. We are extremely heavy and constant users and we’re still only using 35% of our available space. Basically DropBox stores synchronized files in the cloud. So, wherever you are in the world, as long as you have access to the Internet, you have access to all of your files. Dropbox is a fantastic way to sync the files that you work with on a regular basis. For instance, imagine you are on a business trip interstate or overseas and you’re using your Mac to write a report for your next staff meeting.  You save the report into your Dropbox folder and it is automatically backed up. When you get back to the office the report is available to you on your PC where you can finalise the report for your meeting.

DropboxOr maybe you just want to get out of the office and head off to your favourite coffee shop (ours is Taboon Café at the Easy T in Robina).  Take your laptop, iPad or mobile device and continue to work on your files (or not!). As a side note, we find that getting out of the office can give you a whole new perspective about your business and we often come up with genius ideas for moving our business forward.

You’re probably wondering about file sharing with other users and how that works.

When you invite another user (in our case if we’ve hired a new outsourcer say) the process is you set up a new folder within your account.

Now here is the best bit. Only those files that you want to share need be transferred to the new folder. In the new folder you have the facility to invite one or more people depending on your intentions. Simply enter the email address or addresses of anyone you want to share with and Dropbox sends out an invitation automatically.

The invitee then accepts the invitation and any files in that folder can now be accessed.

Just go into your documents (PC) or finder (Mac) and drag or copy the relevant files to the new folder.

What we do is allocated tasks to outsourcers. So only the file or files relating to that task are copied into the outsourcers folder.

The outsourcer works on the task, updates the file and we can then check the work for accuracy, make changes and give feedback.

Dropbox doesn’t have to all about work. Dropbox allows you to share photos, music and videos with family and friends wherever they are in the world. No more struggling with sending and receiving large files by email. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve had major problems with Outlook because someone is trying to send my photos by email. Dropbox eliminates these issues.

The only negative I can find with Dropbox is that you cannot collaborate on files synchronously with other users. Therefore you need to be highly organised.

Best Backup Software

, SEO Gold Coast

I Have Now Upgraded to Acronis True Image 2013 And It Is Even Better

Click Here To Access A 30 Day FREE  Trial Version Of
Acronis True Image Home

and

Click Here To Download A FREE Version of
Drop Box

 

Both Acronis True Image Home 2012 and Drop Box have excellent, short and easy to understand Wizards that show you how to set them up.  Even if you aren’t a computer guru they can both be set up in minutes.  I am more than happy to help if you have an issue and remember Acronis has free technical support for the first 30 days.

 

 

Free Task Management Software

, SEO Gold Coast

I have finally found a Free Task Management Software that I really love and that actually works for me.

I have made a quick Video on Teux Deux, its features and how I use it.


Teux Deux also have a version of this free management software for your iphone and are working on a version for the Android.  They charge $2.99 for the iphone App.

One other thing, make sure you read the FAQ’s section, these guys have a great sense of humour!

Click on this link to access this free management software:   http://teuxdeux.com

Sending Emails While Travelling

, SEO Gold Coast

Sending emails while travelling can be a real challenge. Have you ever been logged into the local Wi-fi with your laptop trying to clean up urgent emails before you get on a plane only to discover when you get to your destination the emails are still sitting in your Out Box?

This has happened to me in airports, overseas in Hotels, Internet Cafes, a variety of places.  It has even happened to me when I have been logged into clients Internet servers.

So frustrating.

I have found a solution to sending emails while travelling

http://www.smtp2go.com provide a service that allows you to send emails from anywhere in the world from your laptop, whether it is a PC or a Mac.  It even works on your Ipad or Smart phone.

They have a totally free version that allows you to send 200 emails a month.  You can sign up, they don’t ask for your credit card details.  I only go in and change my outgoing mail to smtp2go when I am away.

With the free version you can send from only one email address. You still receive all emails via your normal provider.  smtp2go only sends your emails.

The standard paid version is super cheap and allows you to email from more than one email addresses.  So if you have a work email and a personal email it will send emails from both. It has a 30 day free trial, so if you are going away and you have more than one email you can give it a try.

With this standard version you can send 5000 emails a month.  Again, you still receive all emails via your normal provider.  smtp2go only sends your emails, so for most of us, 5000 is a lot. There are then a range of plans should you need more emails.

If you click on the “See Plans and Pricing” link on their home page, you will see all the available options and pricing.

For those who are not very techie, they have excellent instructions.  They promised it would take less than 2 minutes and it did.

So, another great find.

Free Email Data Base Marketing – Under 2000 Subscribers

, SEO Gold Coast

Did you know that it can take up to 9 connections with a potential customer before they buy your product or service?

The question you should be asking yourself is …….  “How do I ensure I get  those 9 connections”?

And if your business is new or a bit short of money, “How do I do it for free…………”?

One way is to use the power of an Email Data Base Marketing system and create an Email Auto Responder series that goes out to your potential customers

Did you know that you are not able to email a potential client list from “Outlook”.  If you add too many emails to an Outlook Email, your email will end up not being delivered or in the spam folder.

To email a reasonable number of potential clients you need a professional email system. They range in price depending on the number of subscribers you have and the number of emails you wish to send every month.  The price usually increases as the number of subscribers and emails sent increase.

Some have a free trial for 30 days and others have a free service for a small number of subscribers and email messages.

We have found an excellent system   –   MailChimp

It is free while you have under 2,000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails a month.

Email Data Base Marketing

Most new businesses don’t have anywhere near 2,000 subscribers.

One of the issues you need to consider is the “deliverability” of the emails.  Do the emails get to the “In Box” of your receipients or do they end up in the spam folder.  The best Email Marketing companies work hard to ensure they don’t allow spammers to use their services.  This means if you use these companies your emails tend to get delivered.  Mail Chimp is one of those companies.

You can add your logo and colours to Mail Chimp email templates so the emails will look as close to your branding as possible.  They also have excellent Video tutorials to easily and quickly get you started.

But, if you are like us and need to email more than 2,000 subscribers you can use any of the following companies and know you have the best chance of getting your emails delivered.  They all provide email templates, great training and “deliverability”.  Check out their individual websites for pricing comparisons.  Most of them have a free trial, this will give you plenty of time to check them out and see if they fit your business.

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