There’s nothing quite like waking refreshed on a Monday morning, grabbing your coffee and heading into the office with an organized to-do list and a can-do attitude. You sit down, check your messages and fire up the computer and see nothing but a blue screen!

Wait, what is that feeling deep in the pit of your stomach? You feel panic rising and the repetition of the mantra “stay calm” running through your head as you realize something went terribly wrong with Friday’s backup. Have you checked your backup lately?

Backups are not an option for any business, it is the essential tool that keeps your digital data safe in a world filled with viruses, computer crashes, hackers and even our own user errors. Choices abound for this service and the accompanying software; the critical point is to confirm that what you are using is actually working.

3 Steps to Choosing the Right Process:

Step One:  Local backup versus Offsite backup  

Local Backup keeps the software, hardware and your data at your office. It is run daily, making this a fast restore solution. However, it can’t guarantee your data safety during the next electrical surge or accidental office fire. Choices at this level include

  1. Disk-to-disk nightly backups of the days’ activities
  2. Replication backups which is ideal for high-volume data entry
  3. Virtual backups requiring servers to save data in real time

Offsite Backup automatically saves your data in a remote location ensuring that a lightning strike didn’t just wipe out your server and local backups. While your new server is being built and software reloaded, you have the critical data your business can’t run without.

Step Two: Evaluate and Build a Plan  

How much downtime can your business afford? This question is not answered easily but is vital to ensuring you have the right backup plan in place.

Know your affinity to downtime. There are files you need to run your business and there are files you can you live without. This process will enable you to keep live files on your system while some older less used information is archived.

Asses your data size. You may be willing to sacrifice some documents and still run efficiently; but can you work without your database, emails and accounting? The size of this data, and frequency of change will affect your style of backup.

Step Three: Call in the Experts

Now is not the time to cut corners and costs. Your business and your peace of mind will be better served by a team of experts that can help you work through the questions and determine the smartest solution.

Insist on a backup analysis immediately and implement a quarterly testing to make sure your data is safe – exactly as you planned! Remember the only backup that matters is the one you can restore when you need it.

Read more on Backup Best Practices