Tech Talk: 5 Tips on Backing Up Your Business

Dozens of break ins and fires destroy local businesses every month. A recent restaurant and marketing firm in Vancouver suffered from devastating fires and shared their thoughts after some tough lessons learned.

One of them was Boxcar Marketing. Two days after losing most of their business to a fire, they posted this informative blog with some very important tips http://www.boxcarmarketing.com/blog/

We wanted to add this: Backing up your computers and networks is always a great habit to have but also make sure it is OFF site. Backing up your network and computers and leaving that at the office will do no good in case of an emergency or disaster. You have to back it up and keep it off site. But the question is how often?

Answer: Daily? Sounds like a difficult process but it is very easy and all it requires is you to unplug a little device at the end of each day. A similiar process to taking cash off site at the end of a business day, backing up offsite is as simple as unplugging a small hard drive, the size of a little notepad.

How does it work?

Offsite backup providers are different than your online storage services.  First, size matters.  Make sure you not only have gigabytes of offsite file storage but also automated backup software.  Software that is coded and tailor made for your business needs and has the ability to  automatically back up all or just some of the data that you choose.

Secondly, don’t get burned by a bad deal.  Online storage services may be cheaper but don’t provide automated backup options. IE: some online services won’t remember to  protect your data if you forget.

Don’t be afraid to look into spending a little more and getting services that will manually back up files every day as they change or as new files are created.

Here are some more tips from Technical consultant, Jonathan Romero-Montoya of Matrix Connectivity Solutions.  He works for the local firm that specializes in providing off site back up services.  He works with local businesses in evaluating their needs and finding the best offsite backup provider.

#1: Reliable software

Work with a company that has tried, tested and true methods of software and only use programs that work the best.

This will help save you money and stress and take out the guess work.  Don’t fall for claims by service providers that promise the world but have no real life experience or case studies that they can share with you or back up their abilities.  It’s just like asking for references.  Also ask about security, easy recovery, seamless integration in programs such as Windows and other programs you may have in your office.

“I’ve spent years sampling and working with backup services from various providers.  Some claim to be easy to use by anyone but then end up not working down the road because they were incompatible on server platforms, or generate cryptic errors.  Why?  They aren’t specifially programmed or coded just for you.  It’s like buying custom made shoes that claim to be a one size fits all,” says Jonathan.

Don’t take chances with backups and look for software and tools that send alerts in advance and not when there is a problem with no time to fix it.   ” We use software and tools that alert us in advance so we can fix the problem and most of them remotely.  So lets say if you are vacation – you shouldn’t have to worry about monitoring your network.  We do that for you but in a way where it’s preventative. Nobody needs their beach time interupted by a computer virus that wasn’t caught on time, ” adds Jonathan.

The big difference in working with an ‘out of box’ solution or real IT professionals is that they look for confirmation that critical data is actually backed up instead of  clicking the proceed button and hoping for the best.

“Real professionals also provide backup reporting that is detailed and accurate.  Always ask for on file-level reporting with any backup service provider.  You should be getting a  daily list of every file that’s backed up, a list file sizes, time of transfer, and any error details,” advises Jonathan.

#2: Storage plans that meet your needs

Are you paying by the gigabyte or a fee structure that makes budgeting for IT services tough to forecast?

“We have plans with specific storage limits and flat fees.  In our experience, we find this helps simplify budgeting process for our clients and these plans grow with client needs.”

#3: Simple recovery

Let IT professionals sort out the simplest way to help you recover data in a situation when needed.  This may require daily hard drives to be used for off site storage.  Sounds thorough and it should be easy as unplugging a cell phone at the end of the day and taking it with you.

“Work with IT professionals that can sort this out for you instead of taking the risk and working with IT solutions that you may be unfamiliar with.  Daily hard drives for off site can also help ensure that it’s easy for you to recover data that’s been backed up offsite but that unauthorized parties won’t be able to do the same.”

#4: Secure file transfer

If your backing up online for example – think about how much data you have and the time it will take to  upload and download in case your network gets wiped out.  Example – if your backing large amounts of data, it would tie up your entire network and its resources for hours or even days.  Having an actual IT service provider means they do it for you.  Time is money – you decide how to spend it.

#5: 24/7 support

Crashes and data loss crisis don’t work on a 9 to 5 schedule.  Most IT companies provide rapid response and around the clock support.  Make sure before signing any contracts – you know how to reach the support desk at any time.

By: Kuljeet Kaila 

Watch for our “Tech Talk”  columns now appearing on www.theprovince.com

 

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