Every Small Business Should Backup

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backupNothing comforts me more business wise than being prepared for every eventuality. That is all things relating to the office, which is primarily my domain in the company. While I haven’t completely solved this concern, and truthfully, there are events that are out of my control, for the most part I can rest easy knowing that the company will survive the moderate interruptions in business. From server crashes to data destroying fires, our company information will still be safe and available so that the company can keep operating. Here’s why.

Every company should have an online and onsite backup. However, for online backups, I have yet to find a company or software that I really like and am satisfied with. There are so many areas of my job that require thought, time, and research and when it comes to things like backups, I just want them to work. I don’t want a second job in trying to understand what is taking place, what the error codes mean, why something is temporarily unavailable… these are commons problems I have encountered in the past. My recommendation to this problem is hire a local firm that offers online backups. If the firm manages your company’s network health and security, that is even better. They will know your systems and information and will manage your online backups at the same time; probably better than you can. For the most part I have found online backups good in a pinch. If you’re traveling and you’re working with the same company file that someone is simultaneously using back home in your office and errors occur, you can reference the online backup pretty much immediately. If the backup is working properly the files should be updated as they are edited. Other than connectivity issues, the only other hiccup I have encountered with them is how they store data. Some backups create brand new company files each time they backup. This can take up copious amounts of space. Since most basic online storage is billed by the size, this factor can be a real problem. Other software simply updates the files as you go; you won’t find duplicate files and you won’t need to manually update the online account as often. When deciding on the software or company, call a representative and find out how their software operates. The only other alternative is trial and error. This alternative is one I know well and in time’s past, it can be costly.

For onsite backups, Seagate and LaCie are my brands of choice. For the most part, their hardware is reasonably priced and reliable. Other brands to consider are Iomega, My Passport, and Case Logic. I don’t have experience with these brands and cannot recommend one over the other, but they’re easy to find in stores and online. I started originally with a 500 gigabyte drive and believe this to be a sound size for new companies. With regards to the storage size, here is the logic I use for purchasing and replacing hard drives. Year one, you purchase the 500 gigabyte hard drive backup. This is a good size that should hold at least two years of videos, pictures, proposals, accounting files, etc. By year three, you’re possibly reaching the 50% mark for your storage size. At this time, you purchase the 1 terabyte backup. You clean all the files off the 500 gigabyte backup and repurpose it for personal use, or you can use it as a secondary backup for long term, low use files. Overall, I feel drive backups should be replaced every three to four years. They are like your desktop computer; their parts will wear out and eventually stop functioning. Unlike your $1,000 plus investment for your desktop computer, the $100.00 to $150.00 investment to buy the hard drive and replace it every three to four years is a nominal fee compared to the complete loss of your company data. Yes, you have the online backup. But if you are monitoring and maintaining the online back up on your own, errors with network connectivity and backup settings will be hard to justify when the time comes to restore your data and it simply isn’t there entirely or partially.

I struggle with not becoming to nuts about checking on both backups constantly, but sometimes I cannot help it and I worry about them. We are a small service company, but as the years have compiled information and our experience with business has grown, we have learned there isn’t any time to be complacent or caught unaware.

Last modified: November 6, 2013
Nikki Hall
Nikki is the co-owner of Aspect Tree Service in Alexandria, VA. Learn about her business at www.aspecttreeservice.com


This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

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