What data needs to be backed up? Quite simply as much or as little as you can live without:
Customer lists and contact details are an obvious candidate.
Your web site should be backed up, in case the web server should fail. If you are outsourcing
the management of your web site make sure the hosting company is making backups as they should.
Tailored software. If you have commissioned someone to write a program or design some templates for you make sure they are securely backed up.
Handheld devices can store a huge amount of data these days. Make sure they are regularly backed up and linked to your main office PC.
Manufacturers often supply CDs with new computers. Keep these safe and preferably in a different location to the PC they refer to.
Email and address lists are often the most important data in a business. Keep these backed up on a regular basis.
Data stored locally on someone else’s PC. If one of your colleagues is doing important work make sure their data is backed up as well – maybe swap backups between you. Remember – you will loose all of the data you updated since your last backup was taken, so take frequent copies of important data. Sometimes these backups could be hourly, sometimes daily but almost always weekly. Always remember to test your backups on a regular basis. Many companies have tried to restore data from a backup only to find the data is useless as it has been damaged.
Recovering data from a back-up
The most important thing to remember if you have suffered a failure is not to panic. If you have been taking reasonable steps to protect your equipment and have a backup process in place then you should be able to recover any lost files. Take a methodical approach to recovering the data and make sure you are happy that you are restoring the correct version of the files to the correct place. Many people have panicked in these situations and ended up copying old data over newer copies, making the problem worse. It may be an idea to sit down with a trusted friend or colleague and get them to help double check what you are doing. Having written documentation for your backups can significantly ease this process.
Backing up data
Business IT Guide
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