Well, it’s an oldie but a goodie – the topic of backing up your data – particularly your business data.

It might seem that we regularly discuss the need for having backups of your information – especially if you are running a business with that information – but we talk about it regularly because it’s so important!

Data that needs to be considered ranges from your holiday snaps from the digital camera, through your university essays to the accounting information that allows you to invoice your business customers. Obviously, the backup procedures for each of these types of files is different, but you need to ensure that you have at least two copies of all of these, to make sure that you always have access to them – remember, CDs and DVDs can be scratched or lost, so another copy is always a good idea.

For businesses, there are at least a couple of choices for backup locations – you can keep one copy of your information in a separate physical location (say one at home and one in the office), or there are a number of services that allow you to put a backup copy online (over the internet). In each case, there are issues that need to be considered, including how quickly you can access the second copy if you need it and what the costs are. Along with this, you need to decide whether you need an automated backup process or you can (and will!) do it manually. So if you want to talk to someone about the backup requirements of your business or your family, have a look here and send us an email – we can help you.

So – why am I mentioning this now? Well, I had a meeting with a business associate on Thursday morning – it had been postponed twice due to illness, so it was important that we catch up this time… In the morning, I got an SMS that she would not be at the initial meeting, as she had been up till nearly 4.30am with her local IT guy, trying to remove a virus from her work PC, but that our later meeting was still on – so it sounded like she had an ‘interesting’ night! By the time the initial meeting was over and I called her to let her know I was on my way, she had managed about five hours sleep – so our meeting was definitely happening. Anyway, to cut a long story short, when I got to her office, this was the story:

1. She was concerned about backing up her data and her clients’ data, so she bought an external drive (well, actually two) to ensure that she always had a separate copy apart from the one on her PC.

2. One of the two drives in the external case was faulty. So the initial setup did not complete, but she had great difficulty convincing the people that she had bought it from that she had followed the correct process and the drive was actually defective and needed to be replaced. The process of trying to convince them to repair or replace it under warranty had taken around a month, so far.

3. She got a virus on her work PC. Trying to remove this required a reboot and going back to a previous Restore point. Windows did not recover correctly from this, so she sent a panicked message to her IT guy – who worked through the night to try to recover from the issues.

The outcome of all this – the IT guy was not able to remove the virus in a single step, so the single drive in the external case is being used to take a backup of all the files required (as was its original purpose in life!) – this process looked as if it was going to take all of Thursday and probably at least half of Friday, if not longer. After that had been done, the PC was going to be taken away to have the virus removed by whatever means were required – which may well require a complete clean install and then reinstallation of all software being used on that machine. I have not heard how that process went, but obviously my associate is not happy that this virus is causing so much grief and downtime for her business.

So, ultimately, she was doing the right thing by setting up a backup system to ensure that her business could run smoothly if there were any issues – but it did not quite get organised before she needed it. Let us help you to avoid this situation! An email or a call on 03 9894 0530 can start the process of protecting you from being caught out like that.

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