Backup and Save your business!

There you are busily typing away on your PC or your Laptop, and all of a sudden the strangest thing happens. The screen goes black, extinquished like a candle in the wind.

A message appears saying: "The file hal.dll is missing or corrupt. Windows can not start." Well you know that 95% of computer glitches are solved by a simple reboot, so click?oops, can't click, no Windows. Ok then, you reset, and you think you are sure to be OK when the reboot completes.

Wrong! The same error message appears "The file hal.dll is missing or corrupt. Windows can not start." How is it possible for one measly file to kill your system?

DISASTER?What to do now? Phone your tech friend and ask his advice. He tells you the bad news. You are obliged to re-install Windows from the original disc! Oh My God! Will I lose all my programs and data? Yes, you will have to re- install all your programs. No your data may be safe, but only if you don't have to reformat your hard disc.

But, your friend asks, I hope you have all your backups.

DO YOU, because that is the key to saving your business. You know that in today's business world, 95% of your business information is stored on your computer. This applies not only to online businesses, but also to offline ones. In this paperless society of ours, business people are printing less and less of all their transactions.

Think hard. Where the heck did I hide my original Windows disc? Really, are you organized enough that you can easily find your original installation discs, along with the code numbers they need to re-install.

You own some programs you downloaded off the Net, but they are stored on your hard drive. Are they backed up? When is the last time you backed up your data, the lifeblood of your business.

What backup system do you use? Do you use the old- fashioned tape systems, or do you backup to CD or DVD? Whichever one you use, the key is that your backups must be frequent enough to keep you out of major trouble.

Program backups do not have to be constantly repeated like Data does. Programs do not change, unless you downloaded an update. Then your update must be saved on your hard drive, and also backed up.

Data includes so many different things that it's easy to forget to back up some items. 'My Documents' contains much of the data, but not nearly all. Do you know where your Favorite links are stored? Where is your email that you saved? Along with your email address book, Microsoft hides these files quite well.

It took me weeks to find, and then remember where they are hidden in Documents and Settings. I never did find the email settings, so have not saved those.

Bottom line: what should you back up, and how often?

Whatever media you use, you must have at least 2 current backups of everything, and preferably 3. If you use CD or DVD, have you ever noticed how some discs suddenly become unreadable, and for no apparent reason. It happens oh too frequently.. I lose up to 15% this way. CDs have an expected shelf life of maybe 2 years. Some will surely last longer, too many die prematurely.

Does that mean you should not use CDs or DVDs to back up? Of course you should. It is the cheapest backup system I know about. But you MUST have more than one copy. I prefer 3. The proof of this comes when you save your business by being able to start over because your backups are up to date.

Imagine if you lose all your programs and have to buy them over again.

Imagine if you lose all your emails that have your registration codes for the programs you bought online. And what about all the sales and purchase data in your emails. What about your contact list, your email lists, etc.

Imagine losing all your accounting data that you must have for year-end tax reporting!

Enough said. Programs already backed up on 2 or 3 copies only need to be updated by adding new programs you buy, and upgrades that come out.

Data should be backed up based on the frequency of your transactions. It could be daily, or every 2 or 3 days if your business is in the early growth stage..

Without backups?your business may be dead in the water! Don't get careless. You may say I will save a disc or two by backing up less often. Why? One CD-rom disc costs a buck. Big deal when it means life or death for your business.

Why take chances. Can anyone predict when you will have a problem, a computer crash, a new virus? Of course not. Don't live dangerously, this isn't a thrill ride, it's your life, your business life!

Fred Farah copyright 2004

Fred Farah

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