Recently I had a very unfortunate experience. OK it was a bit of a catastrophe (if I can be dramatic for a moment). I lost a bunch of contacts from my mailing list while transferring them over to another list. I was feeling confident because I’ve been using tech for decades, and so I thought I was past small errors such as accidentally deleting my entire list instead of only the 80 I’d just copied across.
My next mistake (which compounded the disaster) was not having backed up my list.
Not backing up your data can have devastating consequences, especially if your business is fully online. It can cause you to lose money, time and important files, and in the worst case scenario, can completely derail your business.
And that’s why today’s blog post is about backing up your data, because I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.
So what exactly does “backing up” mean, and what are the different options out there? Read on to find out.
What does it mean to back up?
Backing up your work means having a second copy of it saved in another location. That way, if you accidentally delete important information or it gets lost or broken, you can get it back. It’s like making a copy of an important document, and locking the original away in a safe.
How often should I back up my files?
This will depend on how often you make changes to whatever you are saving. You could choose to back your data up daily, weekly, monthly… whatever suits your schedule best. But don’t put it off! If you’re short for time, consider automating your backups.
Which files should I back up?
As many as possible! It’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t skimp on storage space – if you have to pay for extra, do it! It’s worth it; remember that your data is your business. Without it, there is no business and you’ll have to start from scratch. Bear in mind however that some data doesn’t need to be backed up, such as programs and system files. For these, just ensure you save copies of the original installation files and registration information in a safe place.
What are my backup options?
External hard drive
(A physical drive with a USB port)
- Advantage: Easy to use, just plug into your laptop and drag your data over
- Disadvantages: Manual process that you must remember to do regularly. If the drive malfunctions you risk losing all your data. Consider using two drives and alternating them.
(A digital space where your data is saved)
- Advantages: Having your important data backed up off-site means that even if your entire office is destroyed your data is safe.
Has a ‘bin’ where you can fish out files you accidentally deleted.
Easier to automate
- Disadvantages: Free plans are limited in size
Dependent on internet connection
Network Attached Storage
(A physical drive that can be accessed remotely)
- Advantages: You retain full rights to your own data, which is not the case when you use a third party. If you are concerned with security, this is something you may want to take into consideration.
No recurring costs, just the initial investment.
- Disadvantage: It’s more complicated to set up and requires more technical knowledge.
I hope this helps clarify the different storage backup options available to you. As for my preferred option, it’s definitely cloud storage. I especially appreciate Google Drive because it’s reliable, accessible from all my devices, easy to use, and reasonably priced.
So please, go ahead and back up all your important files now. Do it for your business!
Next week I will be back to tell you about some more of my business misadventures in a post about loyalty, reliability, and a difficult decision to leave one provider for another.