The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Friday Guest Blog: No Data Backup? – The Seven Deadly Excuses

By Tracy Barlow, Director, 24/7 Uptime Ltd.

According to recent research, only 15% of businesses perform daily data backups.  Yet it can cost hundreds of pounds to recover lost data from one laptop alone, not to mention the impact this can have on sales, productivity and reputation. 

So we’ve decided to share the 7 deadly excuses we regularly hear why companies don’t back up their data effectively:

1. “It’s a new computer so it will be fine.”  Wrong.  New computers can have problems too.  One of our own brand new laptops decided to quit working with us after just 6 months.  Fortunately, we practise what we preach.

2. “I don’t have time so I’ll do it tomorrow”.  As we all know, tomorrow never comes.  Unfortunately a disaster is likely to strike first.  And recovering from that is REALLY time consuming.

3. “It’s never crashed before so it’s a pretty rare problem isn’t it?” You only need it to happen once.  To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, once may be regarded as a misfortune; twice definitely looks like carelessness.  That’s if your business survives the first time round of course.

4. “I’ve heard it’s really expensive.”  It’s more expensive not to protect your data in the first instance.  But don’t just choose the cheapest option – ask questions.  You need to ensure that your data is stored in the UK so it complies with our stringent Data Protection laws and you can easily access it in the case of a disaster; and do check what customer service you will get in the event of a problem - that you have ‘real people’ to deal with, not just an email address or web site login.  Good customer service will be really vital when the chips are down, as well as fast and simple data retrieval.

5. “I back up to an external hard drive/disks/tapes.”  Unfortunately they can fail too.  And you don’t want to wait until you’re trying to restore data to find this out. One contact thought she was backing up to her hard drive every day.  Except she wasn’t.  And only realised this when her laptop was stolen.

6. “I back up to a memory stick … and take it home in my briefcase.” Or “We back up to CDs/tapes; they’re stored on top of the server.”  That’s not really very secure and they are far too easy to steal/lose/damage.  Also, be honest with yourself: do you really take a backup every day as originally intended?

7. “My computer isn’t worth much so it’s not worth backing up.”  It’s not the value or the newness of the pieces of kit that you’re protecting; the value of your backups is in the data.  Just 1Mb of data can be worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Our suggestion is that you take a serious look at the importance of your data and how you currently back up and protect it.  Different data has different values to different people and organisations.  Then try to assess what will happen to your business if the data is lost, corrupt or takes an age to restore.  What impact will it have if you can’t access data for a couple of hours, days, weeks or forever?  What will happen to your sales, cash flow and customer satisfaction levels? 

Data backup should be an important part of your business continuity plans, not a distress purchase.  So make sure you choose the right backup partner and the right backup system for your business.

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