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What data should you back-up and why?

Data is absolutely essential and central to many businesses. A company needs its data in order to run operations, record transactions and measure progress. So what data should you back up, and why?

The basic rule to follow in business data protection is this; “Will losing the data interfere with doing business?” If yes, back it up. Software programs can be reinstalled if needed, but recovering the details of transactions or business correspondence is impossible if those files are lost or damaged beyond repair. Here are the sensible things you should think of when thinking backups.

Back up offsite
Does your business have a set of fire-proof, indestructible safes? No? Then don’t even think about making your backups onsite. Investment in a tape drive or external hard drives and meticulously adhering to a regular data backup schedule will be worthless if all your data backup copies are in one location and that place is struck by disaster. You simply must store copies of your backups off-site if your business data is to be truly secure.

Archive Critical Data
Archiving business data is more than just a matter of good housekeeping; it could be a matter of your business's survival. You should start by identifying the critical data that needs to be archived and then using a data archiving method on a regular schedule.

What exactly should be archived in your data backup? Executables, such as software programs, don’t need to be, because you don’t create new versions of executable programs.

However, all the files that you’ve created and/or modified using the executables should be regularly backed up. These are your documents, not your applications. For many businesses, this will include everything from accounting files, email, contact databases and much more.

Be redundant
Backups is one of the areas where being redundant should be encouraged. Use more than one method of protecting and backing up your critical data.

This could simply mean burning a CD or DVD with a copy of essential files, but in truth, when talking business data backups, this sort of thing is best left to the professionals, although you should feel to make your own backups above and beyond what the service provider offers. Do this in addition to whatever else you choose and you can point with pride to your "redundant" backup system.

Expect the worst
As the Scouts say, you need to be prepared, which is the whole point of taking backups in the first place. No one is immune to data loss. Even Pixar once lost all the files to their Toy Story 2 movie, and it was only saved because a project leader had just given birth and was working from home. Luckily she had a recent archived version saved on her home system which allowed the Pixar team to continue where they left off from, rather than starting from the top.

Don’t let you data backups fall to chance; speak to BMIT today and we’ll set your mind at rest.

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