The Search for IT Zen
Hi! Greg Baker here, and I am excited to be back on the printed page (so to speak)!
Many of you were regular readers of my column in the Metro Spirit. (Thank you so much for your support!!!) We discussed technology in a light-hearted, almost tangential manner. This regular blog column is going to be different. The topics addressed will help you manage and operate your small business technology. Productivity, Security, Reliability - we will cover it. In addition, I hope you will discover many tips and techniques that reduce the amount of time and stress you spend on office technology.
What is the most important thing you need to do? All businesses must ensure they have a reliable data backup process. Your data is the lifeblood of your business. Hardware failure, ransomware, and employee error threaten your data, and those are only a few examples. Reports show that 60% of businesses that lose their data will shut down within six months. Surprisingly, 42% of small and medium-sized businesses are prepared for a data loss event. (1)
A reliable backup process ensures that a copy of your business data exists somewhere away from your business location. In the old days, many businesses would have an end-of-the-day process involving copying data to a floppy disk and taking it home. (We don't recommend this approach.) Today, you'll find hundreds of backup and disaster recovery apps on the Internet. In general, all of these apps automatically backup the data on your computer according to a regular schedule and (most likely) copy the data to a cloud server.
There are some details you need to consider, and this is where it can get complicated.
File vs. Image backup - Some backup apps only back up your files (i.e., Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc.) Other apps will create an "image" of your hard drive. File backups can be restored only to a functioning computer. An image backup can be restored directly to new hardware. In case of a total disaster, the image backup can be much faster to restore. However, it is more expensive to install and maintain.
Local storage - Some backup apps utilize a local storage device to store backups before copying the data to the cloud. The use of local storage dramatically speeds up the recovery process. The trade-off is the additional cost of the local storage.
Monitoring - The backup process is not a "fire and forget" operation. While generally solid, these apps are not foolproof. Errors will occur, and they must be addressed promptly. Otherwise, you run the risk of being "that guy" - the one that spent $1000's on a backup system, only to find when a restore was needed, the backups hadn't run for the last three months.
A reliable backup process is critical to your business. We recommend that you engage a technology consultant to ensure your backups meet the needs of your business and that they are being watched. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact CMA Technology at 706-860-1997. We will be happy to review your current backups system and make sure your data is protected!