TECH NOUS Beware Your Back-up

My teenage son is in the process of assembling his own PC. It has necessitated much searching on the web to track down the best parts deals.
My experience of computer assembling has been limited to “plug and play”, so it’s been interesting to follow his progress. Personal computers have been somewhat demystified over the past five or so years. Kids with quite limited knowledge can put system together relatively easily – and the process is simpler than I imagined.
It’s also interesting to note the two components that my son placed the most emphasis on during the project. First and foremost was the graphics card – very important to serious ‘gamer’. Then came the hard disk, the heart of any computer. Why? Because this is where the all-important data is stored.
Remember, if your hard disk fails – you will have major problems, and data loss may be inevitable. While this would be extremely annoying for home PC user who does not make living from that computer – for businesses, hard disk failure can be catastrophic.
While hard disks are generally very reliable, no business can afford not to have backup strategy in place. According to law, all business transactions must be stored for seven years, and replacing this kind of data would involve lot of time and expense, depending on how badly damaged your hard drive is.
The logic to backing up PC files is that should you ever have ‘crash’, you can restore lost files from your most recent set of backups.
In terms of which media to use to backup information, small businesses with single PCs may find CD-burner and re-writable Cd-roms more than adequate – that floppy drive can now be made redundant. Larger companies with greater amounts of data may find dedicated tape drive better option.
Make sure you install good backup software that will schedule regular full backups automatically, and do incremental backups of files that have changed since the last full backup.
For backups to be truly effective and to safeguard against losing valuable data, several common-sense rules apply – and the following are courtesy of Telecom New Zealand’s web page ‘Backing up your Business Data’.
* Keep three sets of recent backups. Store one of these away from your business premises in case of fire. Should your most recent set of backups be corrupt, you can restore from previous backup set.
* Store backup CDs and tapes in dry place away from direct sunlight.
* Replace backup media frequently – tapes wear out and CDs are easily damaged.
* Schedule full backups of all-important documents on your PC fortnightly or more often, and do regular incremental backups. This will minimise lost data should your PC’s hard disk fail.
Another option, especially if you have high-speed internet connection, is to do backups over the internet. This can be great idea as backups are maintained and stored off-site, which is another safeguard against natural disasters.
Backing up your business data should be natural part of your whole business process and key part of your risk management strategy. It’s good idea to put your backup plan to the test occasionally too – fall back on your backup data to see if it will allow you to function normally. Remember, little forward planning now, could save you great deal of agony (and expense) later.

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to Management.
Email: [email protected]

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