Backing Up Your Records
As a very busy small business owner the backing up of your records is often overlooked as you don’t have enough time or it seems to be too difficult.
The main question to ask yourself is what would be the impact if the records were lost? Your answer should tell you why you need to do regular back ups as well as which of the records and information you should be backing up. These records may include your financial reports and accounting information, customer and supplier details, documents, spreadsheets as well as the programs or software used to create these records.
The back up process does not have to be a complex exercise as there are some simple and effective ways you can do it. Which method suits you will depend on what and how much information you are trying to back up. For example, the use of a USB device, CD or DVD in the drive of your computer can be a painless and quick way to back up your data.
For larger amounts of information you can use an external hard drive. These are relatively inexpensive but can store large volumes of data and, with the use of a simple program, can automatically do the back up on a regular basis. An external hard drive also has the added benefit of simply being able to unplug it from your computer so it can be stored offsite.
Another method you can use is an online service where you subscribe to a service provider that backs up your records to the cloud. An example of such a service is Carbonite (http://www.carbonite.com/en/v2/index) but with a quick Google search you can find other service providers.
An important issue you need to consider as part of your back up process is whether you are only backing up files and records or the software required that creates these records. For example, you may back up Word documents but if your computer is stolen or stops working you will need to install the Word for Windows program before you can read the document again. Therefore, as part of your back up process, establish what records you want to back up as well as the software.
As I said at the start, doing regular back ups is often perceived as taking a long time or as being too difficult. It’s really not that hard. A simple program can back up to an external hard drive or a service such as Carbonite can automatically back up your records with a minimal amount of fuss.
If you currently don’t back up your records it’s time to do it now.