Some small businesses only make backups of their data when they think of it. The rationale is that I only have a few computers and my data doesn’t change much. That’s an accident waiting to happen, and from my 40 years of experience I can tell you that accident will be at the worst possible time.
The simple solutions that I’m going to cover will take less time on your part than what you’re doing now!
Organizations with more than a few computers, and especially with one or more servers have typically already invested in more sophisticated backup solutions. If that’s you, and you haven’t challenged what you’re doing in the last couple of years, you can often do MUCH better – better reliability, lower costs, and better recovery functionality.
One of the very best in-house backup software solutions is To-Do Backup by a company called EaseUS. It’s quick and easy to set up. It completely automates the process and sends you email messages to confirm when it backs up, as well as if there is a problem. It’s also better than most other backup software because it makes full images of your computers and servers. That means that you can not only recover individual files that get accidentally erased – you can even restore the entire image onto a different computer and be up and running in about an hour. Think about that – if your computer’s hard drive fails or the computer finally dies – you can be up an running in an hour. The alternative is to get a new hard drive or computer, install the operating system you had before, reinstall all the software you used, recreate all of the desktop icons you were used to, and then reinstall the most recent data — best case if you really know what you’re doing is 2 days of down time and lost productivity!
There is one other similar software solution that has the same capabilities as EaseUS To-Do Backup. It’s called Acronis. But Acronis costs 4 to 10 times as much as EaseUS and has a yearly renewal maintenance fee. Stick with EaseUS. If you already have Acronis save the on-going costs and change.
That’s your “life vest”. Part 2 of this is your life preserver. So let’s say that you are making regular, automated backups with EaseUS and backing up onto an external hard drive – preferably a smart one (NAS). If there’s a fire in your building or a theft, and both the computers and the NAS go bye-bye, you can’t recover your data!
The very simple solution is to have two NAS units and regularly rotate one of them off-site (to the owner’s home or to another office). That’s the life preserver. There is one more important protection you need for your backups, which we will discuss next.