Hey, Back Up Baby.

I was having a meeting with a client the other day when she mentioned that she lost all her contacts in her phone recently when it was being repaired. What a pain that would be! And if that wasn’t painful enough, she also lost some vital recent works because her computer had a melt down and her data wasn’t back up often enough. Double painful.

Computers fill our lives and are the core to our businesses. They faithfully accumulate our pictures, our company’s books and the endless emails we get and send. But unless you back it up, all that data can be gone like a lightning bolt. Whilst computers maybe more reliable than ever, so it’s easy to forget or put off backing up your data. Yes, we are all guilty at some point. But computer drives still fail, and usually without warning or you left unsaved work and there was a storm. One minute the computer is just fine and then they’re heading south in a hurry. And usually when they fail, it’s either impossible (or very expensive) to retrieve the data off them unless you have backed it up.

But what’s the value of backing it up on the same computer? Absolutely no value at all, you need your back up to be either in the clouds or on an external device.

And just like humans, computer can also get viruses and make them very sick, in fact corrupt your data. Some computer viruses will bog your computer down so much that you just can’t even turn them on. Then starts the expensive journey to your computer technician and he/she will probably advise you to wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall everything. So that’s when your backups can be a life-saver in these extreme cases.

Hard drives have a finite lifetime and can fail suddenly and without warning. The sudden death of a hard drive can cause the painful loss of months or years of irreplaceable files and the timing can be catastrophic – if this happens close to a work deadline it could be a nightmare scenario. Still need a good reason to back it up, baby? Imagine your office or vehicle is broken into and thieves steal your computer as they are in high demand and can be sold quickly and easily. If you have backups, it’s simple enough to restore your files to a new computer. Have you ever accidently deleted a file only to realise it was the wrong one? Oh, yes I’m sure we can all relate to that one. And who wants to trowel through the Recycle Bin to search for that document? But if you always have a backup then the original document can be rescued.

Backups are just like insurance policies. You just may never need them but you are sure thankful when the disaster strikes. We don’t like to think about what may happen, but good backups can make any disaster a little more survivable. All you’ll have to do is set up a new computer and restore your backups. When saving your files on physical devices, your backup device needs to be kept in a different location than your computer, and can in turn fall victim to damage or loss. In addition, despite your best intentions, you may forget to copy your files as often as you should, leaving a large amount of recent work unprotected. You either have an automatic backup set for every day or you make it part of your closing procedure at the end of each day (or at least weekly) and do it manually. The later obviously is subject to failure if you don’t do it. My preference is for a cloud based backup that I can access from any location and any computer. There are many companies providing data backup if you are not confident to manage it yourself. The bottom line is to fail to backup is to leave yourself vulnerable to a painful loss of data.