Backing Up Data for Small Businesses

  • Getting a digital backup service isn’t even a question for small businesses. Even if you don’t have hundreds of reports, budgets and payment records, the data is still essential to keeping your business running smoothly.

    You may have been backing up your information on an external hard drive, but any business person who’s been hit with a natural disaster or fire will tell you that’s not enough. External hard drives can be lost or destroyed. In deciding exactly what you’ll need in a digital backup service, there are a few factors to consider:
  • What Kind of Encryption Does The Service Provide? Make sure that the backup service provides encryption for your files. Sometimes that’s included in the cost. Other times, an option, and you might be required to pay more. There should be a 256-SSL connection as well.
  • How Many Sites Does the Backup Service Use? Ideally, there will be redundant backup – i.e. your information will be stored on more than one offsite server.
  • How Many of Your Computers Are Covered? Find this out upfront. Some services let you back up to three computers without charging extra, but that’s about as far as they go. Figure out how many computers you need to cover.
  • How Simple Is It to Set Up The Service? Some services have a set-up program that’s simplicity itself. Others require more knowledge on the part of the user. Odds are you’ll want to go with an easier set-up.
  • How Fast Will Your Data Upload? Even in a lightning-speed digital age, transferring huge amounts of data to a digital backup service takes time: hours, and maybe even days. If for some reason you need to get your files digitally backed up by a certain date, don’t wait until the last minute! On the plus side, the upload program will run in the background while you’re doing your regular daily work. As for any post-disaster download, that will take some time as well. And depending on the degree of your wipeout, you’ll probably have to buy programs like Windows or PowerPoint that enable you to use the data.
  • Will Your Service Keep Successive Versions of Files? If you go through several versions of a budget, for example, will the service wipe out the first version? Most of the time, of course, it’s as simple as renaming the successive versions, but if you forget to rename the file, find out how your service handles that.
  • Is It Worth The Money? When doing a cost/benefit analysis, take into account not only the money you’ll be paying, but the security and safety of your data. Starting again from scratch may cost you too much time and money—and can also be just plain discouraging. When you think about it that way, a digital backup service is well worth the cost.