Loss of power, electrical spikes, excessive heat and many other infrastructure problems (outside of your control) can wreak havoc on your computerized electronic files. Recently (Jun 29, 2012) even large “cloud based” servers from Amazon were affected in Virginia when severe storms raked the area. Many large companies that utilized these servers were affected, including Netflix and Pinterest.
Inclement weather on the east coast knocked some of Amazon’s cloud services offline Friday. Netflix, Instagram and others were affected.
As a small business owner is critical to backup your personal and business files by taking the following steps:
1. Create regular Backups.
Backups can be created by manually copying your files to external data sources, such as affordable portable hard drives. These can be purchased at Costco for under $150. After backing up your files it’s important to keep them off-site (ie. Take them home). An additional source of backup is online services (that backup behind the scenes and everything is stored on an offsite server). A list of these can be found at http://pcsupport.about.com/od/maintenance/tp/online_backup_services.htm.
The one I recommend is LiveDrive at http://www.livedrive.com/. They are one of the only services that provide unlimited backup.
2. Paper Documents.
For important documents that are not originally in electronic format, you should utilize an inexpensive scanner to convert them to electronic documents. Once converted, they can be backed up using the previously mentioned methods.
3. Document physical items of value.
Take digital photos or videos of the contents of your business and home. One of the benefits of videotaping these is the ability to verbally talk about the item, and note the value and any other important information that would be beneficial if you had to file an insurance claim. Store these photos or video’s off-site also.
4. On-Site Emergency Plans.
What do you do if there is an extended power outage or natural disaster that prevents your workforce from coming into the office? Some of your work may be possible via remote computer connections if the disaster is localized. It’s important to have thought through this process in advance and document it in writing. Include it in your employee handbook.
These are only a few of the steps that you should consider when planning for the next disaster. For more information, consult websites such as FEMA’s Ready.gov site (http://www.ready.gov).
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