October 20, 2014  
 
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Protecting Computer Data

Protecting computer data should be addressed in your small business technology plan. When small business computers crash and there is no computer backup and no means of data recovery, it can be a business disaster. Don't let it happen to you!

If all of the data on your computer disappeared and could not be recovered, how would that affect your business?
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Here are a few tips to protect computer data that is important to your business.

Backup Your Data Regularly

Backup your data and emails regularly. Every computer in your office should be backed up at least once a week, if not more frequently. The frequency of computer backups depends on usage. If a computer has daily updates of important files, then it should be backed up every night, instead of doing a computer backup once a week.

These days, computer backup solutions are smart - you don't have to back up the entire computer, only the files that have changed since the last backup. Big external hard drives are cheap - one small business owner we know gave every employee a 100 gigabyte hard drive and requires them to do a one-touch backup every Thursday night. Also worth investigating are online backup services - the only concern may be whether you feel comfortable having your data out there on somebody else's server.

It's important to take backups offsite and to have multiple copies of any given backup. That way, if a backup drive fails or your entire office burns to the ground, you will have a backup of the data available.

Protect Against Power Surges

Most offices have surge protectors, but small business owners should be aware that surge protectors do not offer complete protection against power spikes. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) gives you the opportunity to save work in process and turn off your computer without losing any data.

Simulate a Worst-Case Scenario Every So Often

Every so often, simulate a computer crash. Tell employees that their hard drives have crashed and they need to restore data from a backup and work on another computer for the day. Don't just play out the scenario verbally - literally, surprise them and tell them they cannot work on their computer that day. While this might seem like overkill, you'd be surprised how quickly this increases employee discipline regarding making regular data backups.

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