One of the all-time most aggravating and difficult things to deal with as a business owner is losing data. It happens when computers go on the fritz, when programs fail, and when devices get stolen or destroyed.
The super terrible part about the situation? It’s usually avoidable. Proper, frequent backups turn data loss from a crisis to a mild annoyance. Here are the most common backups you should perform, and a few ideas for each.
There are a few ways to back up the data on your computer. You can use an external hard drive and your computer’s built-in backup features. On Windows 10 and 8, use File History. For Windows 7, use Windows Backup. On a Mac, use the Time Machine feature.
On a regular basis, connect the hard drive to your computer to complete a back up. Keep in mind, if you keep your computer and your backup drive in the same place, that’s no good. If one gets destroyed or stolen, the other may, too. Ideally, you’ll have two backup drives, in two different places and use each of them on a regular schedule. Back up at home on Tuesdays, at the office on Saturdays, etc.
You could also use a program and back up over the internet with a service like CrashPlan, Backblaze (Michael’s favorite) or Carbonite. These programs run in the background on your computer, automatically backing up your files to the service’s online storage. If you lose those files for any reason, you can restore them from the online backup.
Losing pictures of your cat is rough. Losing your contacts and not being able to call the coordinator of the chair massage gig? That’s a travesty. iPhones are pretty easy, you can back up to iTunes, or into the cloud. (But there are differences between them.) Android phones can be backed up, too. Other phones probably have backup options, but I don’t know what other phones exist.
It would be upsetting to lose all the content on your website. The bio you slaved over, the blog post that’s gotten tons of hits. The thought of it makes me break into a cold sweat. Luckily, it can be avoided.
Most DIY plans have their own internal backup systems.
Weebly has information here (but it doesn’t include blog posts). Wix will let you duplicate the site as a backup, but it’s not a real backup. Squarespace does backups internally, and suggests a manual copy and paste style if you want your own record of the content.
But really, a big ole Google Doc where you keep all the text on your website is is pretty easy thing to manage. And a file of all the images you use is wise, too.
WordPress has plenty of options as well. Backup Buddy is the most common, and fairly easy to use. You can set it up so the backup files get sent to you via email or to Dropbox, or a few other storage options. Our friend Kelli talks about backups in a podcast episode here.
If you exclusively use a paper calendar, there’s not much you can do to back that up.
If you’ve got an online scheduling system, there are probably a few options. Most systems have an option to export your data. You can do this regularly (maybe weekly or monthly). You could also sync your scheduling system with Google Calendar (or iCal or Outlook, whatever you’ve got). Most scheduling systems have very little downtime, but if it happens, it’s nice to be able to look at an alternate calendar and see what’s up.
Paper charts should be stored in a fire-proof file cabinet. If you do electronic charting, store it in a cloud option, (Dropbox or Google Drive). If you store echarts on your computer, be sure you’ve got a good backup system in place.
For other paper goodies, I’m a big fan of scanning important documents and uploading to google drive, so if the original gets destroyed, I still have the info I need. Licenses, insurance policies, contracts, everything. I’m a better safe than sorry kinda scanner.
What have I forgotten? Wanna talk about how you protect yourself from data loss? Share in the comments!