Online Computer Data Backup and Recovery – How Do I Know My Digital Information is Being Backed Up?
“Backing up your computer is only as good as the information that goes into it and the regular monitoring and testing that goes into it.”
Q: How do I know if the online data backup and recovery service I’m using actually backs up my computer every day?
A: Excellent question – because if you don’t get a daily email confirmation from your chosen storage provider telling you that the backup completed successfully that day, you can’t know for sure.
And therein lies one of the many dangerous pitfalls of “self-service” websites that allow you (translate as: insist that you) download apps without help, so you install and set up the app yourself.
How do you know you’ve set up the app to work correctly?
What assurance do you get from an anonymous company website, with no phone number for possible human contact, that your digital records are indeed encrypted and stored securely off-site?
Are you willing to accept an automatically processed payment on your monthly credit card statement as proof that your business is fully backed up every day?
And with something as critical to the survival of your business as daily computer backups, you certainly don’t want to risk missing a step or missing an important file from your backup kit. Plus, as a savvy business owner, you want to know you’re getting the service you’re paying for.
But more to the point, the whole purpose of backing up your computer is to be able to recover information destroyed by a hard drive crash or lost due to fire or theft.
Imagine this: 18 months ago, you downloaded an app to automatically back up your computer online every day, allowing you to erase the worry of data loss from your mind. You notice a small charge on your credit card statement each month and feel relieved that your information is protected and glad you never have to think about backing up your data again.
However, one day your trusted computer crashes unexpectedly and wipes out your client database, all your accounting records, emails and documents. It’s a bad situation, but at least you’ll be able to recover your information after setting up your new computer! Right?
Mistake – About 12 months ago you installed a Windows update that unknowingly changed a setting that prevented the backup from starting. You’ve been charged to store your information for the last 12 months offsite, but your chosen service provider only keeps the information as it looked the day before the Windows update. You’ve just lost a whole year’s worth of progress and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can fight your service provider to get your storage fees back, but that won’t get your data back.
You are very surprised to find that no one from your service provider’s staff has been monitoring your account. There were no safeguards in place to alert you or your storage provider that something had gone wrong. Why?
Because you chose the cheapest solution that requires you to know enough about your own system to verify for yourself that the backup is running correctly. And guess what? You agreed to this agreement when you clicked “accept” with the service agreement at the time of installation. You have agreed to monitor and test the backup yourself.
Shocking but true. That being said, here are some tips to prevent this nightmare from happening to you:
What not to do:
1. Keep convincing yourself that it won’t happen to you.
2. Tell yourself you have the time, energy, and expertise necessary to monitor and test your backup yourself.
3. Postpone the decision on a reliable backup solution for another day.
4. Use an online data backup service based solely on price.
What to do:
1. Online services need not be impersonal or absent. Outsource your daily online data backup to a storage provider who first talks to you to learn about you and your business, and then completes the software installation and setup for you.
2. Insist on daily email confirmation that your backup is running successfully.
3. Choose a storage provider that prompts you for 24/7/365 phone support.
4. Make sure the onus is on the storage provider to regularly monitor and test your account. They are the experts, so make them do it.
5. Devote the time and resources necessary to protect your business’s survival right now with daily offsite computer backups. Don’t become a bankruptcy statistic because you procrastinated on protecting your company’s most valuable asset – your information.
And remember, your computer backup is only as good as your ability to recover lost information when you need it most. Survive the crash, recover your information, and look forward to your next success.