Forget backup at your own peril

A recent independent survey of over 1,200 small business owners, by Opinion Matters, revealed that this is exactly the case when it comes to protecting business data.  Over a quarter of small businesses in the UK never back up their data, and, of those who missed backups, over a third blamed ‘lack of time’ and 13 per cent said that ‘other priorities’ got in the way.
Why is this important?
60 per cent of businesses couldn’t survive more than 48 hours if they lost their business data.  Sales teams lose momentum without their prospect lists, finance teams can’t function without data on whom they can invoice, customers leave as orders go unfulfilled and, if your business relies on IP, the company loses its biggest asset. 
Data loss remains a constant threat to businesses across the UK.  There are major incidents that could wipe business data, like fires and floods.  According to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), £132.3b of equity is at risk of destruction by costal flooding in the UK and, according to government statistics, there were 242,000 fires attended by the UK Fire Brigade in 2009.
But, it’s not only the major incidents that businesses need to protect against. An innocent-looking cup of coffee can wipe out all the data on your laptop with one accidental spill.  Even if you’re scrupulous in your habits, you can’t protect yourself from the natural breakdown of hard drives through age or technical failure.  Today, one hard drive will crash every 15 seconds.
What can people do to protect themselves?
Losing data is only an issue if you don’t have another copy – and that’s where data backup comes in.  There are many forms of backup, with different providers offering different tools to help you meet your needs.  However, there are four questions to answer when choosing your backup solution:
1) How many copies of your data do you need?
A wise man once said: ‘if your data doesn’t exist in three places, it may not exist at all’.  Make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket and instead, keep multiple copies of your important documents.
2) Where will your data live?
If you keep your backup in the same place as your computer, the same fate can easily befall both at the same time.  Neither floods, fires nor burglars discriminate; if they take your computer, they’ll take your flash drive too. Local backup will offer the fastest restore experience but offsite services, such as those from online backup providers, will offer more protection.  The best option is to use both together.
3) How safe is your data?
If you’re transferring data over the internet, or you’re storing it on portable devices to carry offsite, it’s critical that your data is encrypted.  Online providers can offer you military-level encryption and the same transfer technology used by online banks.
4) How easy is it to use?
Be practical!  Backup has to happen every day, so if you’re the sort of person who is always going to put off spending half an hour backing up your files, find a supplier who can do it automatically for you.  Backup systems are extremely advanced nowadays so you can create rules to automatically select which files to back up and set the system to upload copies to a local and an online backup drive either at a specific time of day, or when you have available bandwidth or processing power.
Don’t put it off
You should never let backup become your task of shame.  With just a just a little investment time to set up an automated system, you can forget about backup, knowing that your data is safe without needing your intervention.
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