Everywhere you go today people are talking about “disaster recovery” and what to do if your business was hit by H1N1. In addition I joined a new networking group and the materials are all provided – no really – on PAPER. Paper? I can’t remember the last time I only had a document on paper! So it has caused me to do a lot of thinking about how to manage if something happens – whether that be big or little. Every day there are little ways to protect yourself if you need help.
For instance, what if your phone system wasn’t working? Is there a way to forward your number to ring somewhere else? Most voice-over-IP systems offer this as a default but many land-line providers offer this as well. What about your cell phone? Do you know what to do if you ever lost your cell phone? A friend of mine said recently she wasn’t worried about that because she had the insurance. But when I showed her what that meant, she realized you file a claim and they ship you the exact same phone you had in 3-5 weeks. WEEKS???? As most people, she had her old phone in a drawer and immediately put it together with the charger so if anything happened she could redirect her number to that phone.
Speaking of cell phones, how much data do you store on your cell phone only? I love my iPhone for many reasons, but one is because everything on my iPhone is also on my computer without any effort. But if that isn’t the case with your phone, find out how to back it up. All those phone numbers, pictures, etc. would be a pain to try to get back.
There are a couple levels to challenges with computer backups. First, if your computer died (i.e. the processor, video, etc.)Â but not the hard drive, you would need a way to get the hard drive data into another computer. I like to take the hard drive and put it in something called a “hard drive enclosure”. This device secures the hard drive and connects to your computer through a USB connection. Instantly you have all your data in the time it takes you to get to the store and back and unscrewing the hard drive. This can be done by most users or by any store with a computer person on staff.
The next issue would be if your hard drive actually died. That’s when all that data – all the documents, pictures, videos, emails, etc. would be gone. Personally, I use an external hard drive and a DOS script to copy the files. That way if it happened, I could hook the external drive up to another computer and not miss a beat. But, if the problem was I couldn’t get to that external drive – I had to work remotely or something happened to the office – I should have a solution that backs up the data off site (I’m working on that one. More to come!).
eBay recently brought a whole new issue to the forefront. Effective October 31st, they are discontinuing their free blogging service. All that content will be gone November 1 unless users take steps to copy it, move it to another service and restore it. And even if you don’t blog, do you have information on your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, etc. you would hate to lose? Be sure to have a copy of all of those materials so if anything happened, you would still have it to be able to turn into case studies, marketing materials or for posterity.
When you think about back ups, really consider it as how you would function if something happened to each component of your business. That should include staff, technology, services, etc. What things cause you to be dead in the water? What can you do to make sure they don’t go down? What things could you live without and for how long? Is there a service out there that could replace something for a short time? Having a plan in place now means if anything happens you are back up and running in no time. Put some focus on backups!