Startup Tip 38: No business data = no business. How safe is yours?

Today a friend of mine was burgled.

Her phone, an iPad and her deceased father’s watch and wedding ring were stolen.

But what she is most upset about is that her Macbook has disappeared together with a lifetime’s worth of content including all the files and business data for her business. She doesn’t have backups, which leaves her in a pretty nasty situation.

As you can imagine, she is praying the police recover her property.

Web based businesses can also be vulnerable to losing business data. I personally know business owners who have found themselves in the following situations:

  • A entrepreneur with an online business had a dispute with her business partner who locked out of her site and she effectively lost control of the business
  • An entrepreneur who had an online startup had outsourced the backend development to an overseas developer who also set up the hosting. He never organised to get a backup and when the hosting was discontinued he was left with no prototype to show investors and no backup to be able to put on another host. He managed to solve this, but could have lost three years work and the opportunity to pitch to investors due to not having a backup.

We hear it so often and yet most of us still fail to do it – BACKUP your data!! This simple tip can prevent enormous stress and mitigate a serious business risk.

 How to protect your business data

There are different ways you can implement backing up the data in your business. Various programs can backup your computer. Remember to backup your USB (thumb) drive as well because they are so easy to lose.

Website files (including WordPress files) should also be backed up. Same for financial software files.

Basically you want to make sure that there are multiple copies of any information which is crucial to running your business. And it’s a good idea put a copy of your backup in a different geographical location.

Backups should also be scheduled regularly – daily, weekly or monthly depending on your needs. Otherwise you might lose your business data and be left with a backup that is two years old.

Action – create a backup plan

Make a list of what data is crucial to your business. Next to each item, write a backup method and how often the backup should occur. Then schedule it into your diary. Or even better, use software to automate your backup process.

Further Resources

Backup options:

  • WordPress: The free WordPress Database Backup plugin will backup your WP site and put a copy on your server and also email it to you if you like.
  • Hard Drives: There are numerous software programs available to backup the data on your computer.
  • If you are a bigger business and have more complex backup needs, there are a range of enterprise solutions available.

Join the Conversation

Have your say in the comments – or use them to create a little bit of extra motivation and accountability to get your action task for today done.

And I would love you to join me on Facebook  or Twitter.

Image used under Creative Commons license courtesy of  Ruben Molnes

Comments

  1. Just came across this article via Twitter. Unfortunately for a lot of people they do backups after they learn the lesson the hard way. It’s too late then.

    There’s just 2 things I thought I would offer:
    Don’t just assume your IT person is doing this, find out the specifics and make sure you have documentation in case they’re not around one day.

    Know how to get it back. It sounds obvious, but when you need to use your backup you don’t want to fumble around and hope it works. The best way to prevent this i to have a simple restore procedure ready. Even better if you can test it to make sure it works.

  2. Good stuff, Susan, and Steve is so very right about testing restores—that’s really the only way to know if your backup is working or not.

    I’ll add: Get at least one copy offsite and update it on a schedule that works for you. External hard drives are easy and popular for thieves to grab, and calamitous events like fires and tornados will destroy everything in the same physical location, including the backup. Either use a hard disk backup app that supports multiple copies or use a cloud-based backup service.

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