When Your PC Backup is Not Enough

Harvey Segal

If you are dependant on your PC for running a business venture on the Internet then it is vital that the loss of your PC does not damage or cause the downfall of your business. In other words you must make sure that you regularly backup the data on your PC. Now this should not be news to you, but here are two vital warnings:

#1 It is not sufficent just to backup your data: How do you know you can recover it? Have you ever tried? Yes, I know that it’s meant to work, but who knows what can go wrong along the way. When my car once failed to start, the mechanic correctly identified that the battery needed replacing. Did he check that the car would start after fitting the new one? There was no need – it’s ‘supposed’ to work. Did it start? No!

So are you going to take the risk that something will work, just because it’s "supposed to" work – and risk saying goodbye to your online business if it doesn’t – because you’ll have lost all of your important data, which will be gone forever; why take that chance? Test out your recovery options, and do it now!

#2 If you make backups of your entire hard disc (maybe you have a high capacity backup unit), then you can skip this section. The rest of us, however, are typically making copies (hopefully) of our most critical data to floppy disc, ‘Zip’ drives, CDRs, etc. thinking that if our hard disc crashes, we’ll be up and running in no time. It’s not that simple, however.

Consider all of the programs and utilities that you regularly use: Do you have those original discs? If you downloaded them from the Internet, do you remember the source?

Can you recall the personalized configurations that you have applied to your software, or those simple shortcut keystrokes which you use so often that it’s hard to recall the original methods?

Can you remember all of the passwords you are using: The ones for connecting to your ISP, retrieving your POP e-mail, checking the statistics on reseller sites, etc.? Do you have vital contact information such as your ISP’s “dial up” number? Are there files, not directly under your control, which need to be part of your critical data backup, for example, the address books embedded in your e-mail software?

Imagine This Situation:
Your computer has been wiped out, stolen, gone up in flames. All you have left is a backup copy of your critical data (and, by the way, you are keeping a spare copy in a separate building – aren’t you ?)

In your hour of need when you are desperate to get back online and attend to a mounting army of e-mails or orders, the last thing you need is to struggle to connect to the Internet, to find your passwords, to be deprived of the tools which simplify your PC work. What is the solution?

You need to keep a record of all the vital information mentioned above (passwords, configuration details etc). Put this record into a file which is part of the critical data that you regularly back up, and then keep a printed hard copy handy – and another one in a REMOTE location. You can even copy the file to a secure directory on your web site. You should also review the backup content of your critical data to check for any other files, such as address books, that need to be included.

Having a complete and safely stored backup copy (and knowing how to quickly reinstall this data) can be the difference between life and death for your online business. Be smart, backup now, before it‘s too late!