What is your backup plan?

Don’t worry!  I have one.”  This is the typical answer from my clients.  But when I go on to ask more questions, the problem starts coming up to surface.

  • “When is the last time you did the backup?”
  • “Have you tried to recover data from backup?”
  • “Where do you store your backup?”
  • “Do you backup all the desktop?”

No all my clients do a daily backup and most of my clients put their backup drive next to their machine, never test the recovery process or just backup the server.  In a more technical term, they don’t have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).  But they all indicated they understood the importance of their data.  Do they?

What is the cost of computer outage?

I urge everyone who has a computer to answer this question.  If you don’t know the answer, turn off all your computers in office and see how long you have to turn it on again.  Days?  Hours?  Minutes?

Can you afford it? According to a HP’s report; 70% of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year.  What does small business owner do to avoid it?  I found the following data from the reports:

  • 37% admitted backing up their files less than once per month.
  • 9% admitted they have never backed up their files.

Not a lot!  I hope none of you belongs to this 9% group.  I am not trying to address DRP in this blog. DRP is a huge subject and I don’t think I can cover it in 1 blog or even 10 blogs.  But I hope you are really aware of the problem and discuss it with your IT consultant. 

If you don’t have the resources to implement a DRP now, then you should at least consider online backup / storage.  But I have to emphasize that both online backup / storage cannot replace DRP.

Online Backup

Online backup is not for everyone but it is getting very popular.  It is gaining momentum because it is reliable and easy to use.  You let experts who have robust software, remote server, redundant hardware and secure environment to handle your critical data.  If you lose your laptop, hard drive is crashed or even your office is burnt, you can recover your data from your online backup provider as long as you have an internet connection.

Online backup is not your DRP but it can play an important role in your DRP.  Again discuss the potential of including online backup in your DRP with your IT consultant.

It is a very hot market and there are many players:

Online Storage

Do you know that Facebook has provided online storage to its users to create & share documents?  Microsoft’s SkyDrive gives you 25 GB online storage and don’t forget about Google Docs.  Virtually all major IT vendors have online storage, either on its own or bundles with other cloud services.  It would not eliminate the need of DRP; however, it would make your DRP easier.

Call to Action

If you only have 10 minutes after reading my blog, I would suggest you should at least quickly read through HP’s report

You should call your IT consultant and develop a disaster recovery plan NOW!  It is like insurance; we include it as part of our operational cost.  If there is a fire in your office tomorrow, they would pay for your office physical damage.  You can buy a new server, new desktops, and new laptop.  Well, does your insurance give you back your critical business data?

Andrew Chan is the owner and founder of ALG Inc.

About Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan is an Business Consultant who gives you accurate, consistent and timely information so that you can make better and faster decisions. He is an Associate of Society of Actuaries with over 20 years of IT experience. Apart from strong analytical skills and proven technical background, he was also a former system director at Manulife who had extensive project management experience. If you are looking for someone to gather, consolidate, validate, visualize and analyze data, look no further! Andrew can provide the most cost effective business analytics solution so that you can explore, optimize, predict and visualize your business. Don’t guess on any decision, no matter it is finance, operation, marketing or sales! Always ask for evidence!

2 Responses to What is your backup plan?

  1. Thanks for the tips, Andrew.

    Dropbox is great for syncing key files on multiple computers. The files are also accessible online and you can retrieve earlier versions. That’s helped me more than once! You get 2 GB for free.

    JungleDisk creates a nice virtual drive that you can access anywhere, anytime. You’re charged for what you use.

    Combining both provides even more seamless protection.

  2. sama86 says:

    Great article Andrew, I use Genie Timeline. I really like this product because I do not need to worry when was the last time I preformed a backup because its a Continuous Data Protection Program I do not even need to set a schedule. It has a very intuitive interface and including or excluding files from the backup is as easy as right clicking it, I can also retrieve accidently deleted files this way- a very handy tool i believe. It recommends the best backup destination and the files i need to backup in categories that are easy to select. Not only is creating a disaster recovery boot-able disk is quick it also has what is called incremental disaster recovery so basically it backs up my system files and other files regularly which makes me feel at peace. You should check it out!

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