Many small businesses are left with major headaches when a computer virus or hardware failure wipes out important business documentation like invoices and bookkeeping records. The consequences can be severe and can cost hours of productivity as you and you staff try to piece together the paperwork that has accumulated in your business over the years.
Computer failure can also create havoc for your payroll system which is computerised in most businesses today. To avoid these hassles and many others, it’s essential that you back up your documents and records on a regular basis.
What Should Be Backed Up?
Every document that is important to your business – including invoices, receipts, your company’s books, client databases, a copy of your company website, your business plan, registration certificates, and all other information that you would need to start your business up from scratch – should be backed up.
Some of these documents, such as invoices, may be in electronic form already. In this case, it’s a simple matter of saving them to a backup device – see section below. However, when it comes to registration certificates and other paper documents, copies and scans should be made and saved electronically. If you are the business owner, you could also make paper copies of all relevant documents and keep them in your safe at home for added security.
Where Should Backups Be Stored?
Traditional ways of storing backed up information included writeable CDs, memory sticks, and other removable drives that could be stored in a safe place. If your business has a large amount of data that needs backing up, you should consider investing in an external hard drive that can be used to back up your files on a regular basis. Software is available that will do this for you automatically once it is set up.
A new development called cloud storage is a great alternative to physical backups – in fact it would be ideal to use both. Cloud storage allows you to upload files via the internet, where they will be stored on a secure server. By logging in with your credentials, you’ll be able to access your information at any time. This is a great backup-within-a-backup because if the storage device used to back up your files fails, you’ll still have your data in cloud storage.
Once you’ve backed up your important data, make sure that you keep your files updated – this is easy to do with backup software and most cloud storage sites will do this automatically too once the settings are in place. If you’d like to know more about these and other backup options, speak to your IT consultant or computer supplier who will be able to advise you in-depth.