The catastrophic bushfires around Australia over the past months have highlighted the impact that disasters like this can have on businesses.
Quite apart from hard costs, such as the loss of plant, equipment, livestock and premises, there is also the potential loss of data and documents.
With the right level of insurance cover, much of the hard costs can be recovered. But if all your data including business records, client histories and tax related information is lost, then you have the added stress and expense of having to deal with this.
Disasters aside, data stored on paper or on a personal computer, phone or tablet can be lost, often without any warning.
Hardware failure, breakage, theft or even malware infection (such as ransomware) can also make recovering your data expensive or impossible. So, you must be able to backup and restore your data.
There are several ways you can back up your data.
These include using an external hard drive and offsite storage. Backup services with operating systems let you choose the location for backups, such as an external storage device or cloud service.
Some backup applications are also offered with external storage devices. If you would prefer to use one of these applications, consider reading online reviews of storage devices to determine which product will suit your needs.
Ideally, use encryption to protect your files on the external hard drive if the option is available, and store the drive in another physical location, possibly at home.
Storing copies of your files off-site provides added protection. That way, if some physical harm comes to your computer (say fire or theft) you will still have access to your important files.
Cloud backup services
A cloud backup service works more like a traditional backup, but rather than storing your files on an external drive, stores your files in the cloud. Once you’ve subscribed to the service and installed the application, these services will automatically backup the selected files to the cloud. Some of these services can also backup your entire computer.
Make sure the solution you choose uses encryption during transfer and storage, and ideally provides two-factor authentication for access.
Using cloud-based software systems.
There are many cloud-based software programs that completely remove the threat of lost data. Accounting systems such a Xero don’t store the data on your computer. Your files are stored on their own servers with secure backup systems of their own.
Other cloud-based systems include marketing and customer relations software and project management software.
From a business recording perspective, many of these systems are both easy to use and secure. They also make access easier and more efficient. You and you staff can use and work on the programs from any internet connected device anywhere in the world.
Whichever way you are storing vital information for your business, remember that having that data stored in a secure place, preferably offsite may save you an enormous amount of trouble and expense down the track.
Unfortunately, disasters can happen at any time, so hope for the best but prepare for the worst is a good motto to follow.