Friday, August 24, 2012

Make "Backing Up" Part of Your Business Routine

Are you one of those people who make backups? I bet you only started because you lost something important. Human nature, as it is, means we only change our ways when circumstance forces us to. An important document was lost by accident, a book you were working on is lost when your hard drive crashed. Worst of all is when you delete the file you need because you thought it was something else.
We learn to make backups because of past experience, not because people warn you to do so. How many articles have you read about changing the way you do something before it causes a problem? We often wait until it's too late and there is no way to recover the situation.
This unfortunately also applies to business as well. However, losing a personal letter is one thing but the loss of a spreadsheet you have been working on for months can have a much bigger impact.
I am sure your account was insist you keep all paper work, you will end up with folders full of... well... paper.
Bills arrive in paper envelopes, advertising leaflets etc. So much for the paperless office.
But what happens if you lose your business paper work? Your accountant will be upset but those who will want to audit you at some point may be even more upset.
So it's time to take control of all the information in your office.
The website
Don't rely totally on your web host to keep a copy of your website. Web hosts can and do get themselves in to situations where backups go astray. Servers can fail, that means not only will your site be office line but a greater chance of your site being useable.
Make it a habit that you make a copy direct from the server itself. Do not use tools that access the site as a browser would. Ask your web host how you can access the site direct, you need to know about File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the usernames and passwords that go with it.
FTP is very similar to connecting to a disk drive, only a piece of software, FTP Client, is required to make things easy for you. Easy as in dragging and dropping from the server to your computer.
The office paper work
If there was a single step to make a copy of an important document, would you do it? A decent scanner can be bought for under €200. Installation takes minutes, change the settings to store scans in a folder just scans.
Each document can be scanned and named so it has meaning, without having to look at the scan itself. They can be copied or stored direct to an external hard drive. As an extra step you could also store it on a cloud based service.
The financial considerations
Hardware needed to keep your data safe is getting cheaper all the time. Making your data safe can cost under €300, a small investment. Now consider how much your website generates in sales direct or other, how long can you afford to be without it?
Keeping your business documents safe could be priceless. Considering penalty payments that might be due and of course account fees if anything was lost or replacements delaying tax submission.
There is already a lot of information on the Internet on how to backup websites and best software to use with scanners. Read, research and prepare. Don't let a problem force you in to action, be ready before it happens!

1 comment:

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