He (Geoff) helps us make good business decisions. His prices are affordable and hes attentive to our bottom line. He always comes up with the not only the right solution - but the affordable solution as well.

-2 Hemispheres / M Plocher

Backup Solutions

Most people realize the importance of performing regular backups of their data, but many, if not most of us, don't do it. Below are some of the common reasons thar backups are necessary:

  1. Human Error - Have you ever reformatted a hard disk when you meant to format a floppy? Have you ever typed "Y" when you meant "N" and then it was too late? Have you ever overwritten a file by mistake? Today's computers can do a lot of damage to your data in a very short period of time. Backup systems can save you hours, days or months of trying to reconstruct your valuable data. Before you do any important system change, such as adding hardware or software, remember to backup before you proceed.
  2. Hard drive failure - Mean Times Between Failure (MTBFs) have improved dramatically in the past several years for all computer hardware. But so has data capacity — and the amount you could lose if your hard drive fails is staggering. The problem is you never know when a failure will occur. And, according to Murphy's Law, the loss will occur at the worst possible time. Backup systems give you immediate and automatic protection from unpredictable disk failures.
  3. Virus protection and malware protection - Some unscrupulous individuals continue to write viruses that innocently hide in programs and web sites all throughout the Internet. Google recently released a 9-page study stating that 1 in 10 web sites contains malware. These programs have the capability to copy themselves and load into your system along with the software you think you are getting. Once loaded, they proceed to wreak havoc with your system, causing errors, lockups and data loss. A reliable backup system can restore data lost through virus infection when used in conjunction with good virus detection software and an earlier, clean backup.
  4. Events beyond your control - Both natural and man-made disasters inject disconcerting variables into any application that require large amounts of data storage. These include fire, floods, lightning and outright theft. After such an occurrence, how will your business survive? Many don't, according to statistics. Regenerating vital billing or customer information from paper records would be very difficult, if not impossible. Backup systems protect your data against such calamity. Besides doing daily backups, plan to do an extra backup every week. Then store that backup in a fireproof safe or at an off-site location. If your system goes, your data stays — it may mean the difference between business as usual and bankruptcy.

Now that we have established why data backup is so important, let's look at how to go about it.

  1. On-line backup - Your data is stored by a service that provides users with an online system for backing up and storing computer files. Online backup systems are typically built around a client software program that runs on a schedule, typically once a day. This program collects, compresses, encrypts, and transfers the data to the remote backup service provider's servers. I recommend IDrive.com for this type of backup. I have found them to be a cost-effective, reliable provider of on-line backup.

  2. Local backup - With this scenario, you backup your data to a local storage medium (disk drive, tape, CD, or DVD) by either manually copying the data, or employing backup software like Genie Backup Manager. As a minimum, we recommend utilizing two portable hard drives like the ones found here from Newegg.com and the Genie Backup Manager software. Backup the data to one hard drive nightly, and swap the drives weekly. The drive not being used for backup is taken off site to protect against natural disaster, fire or theft.

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