Andrew Riedel, 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…
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
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.
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.