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The basics. Back up.

As the value of (your) digital data increases on a daily basis, so does the need to keep your data safe. It is always very hard to put a true value on your data until you either lose it or lose access to it.

It is often only at that point that people realize; that drive, that computer, that server has something on it they truly need and value. This could be anything, from your accounts to client/vendor data for your business but there is more, maybe you have been writing a book, making music or any other type of project that you are working on that falls outside of your business but nevertheless may represent something just as valuable if not more to you as an individual.

Either way, your data is becoming more valuable on a daily basis.

There are three key elements to making back ups.

1) Back up! Actually do it.

There are still a vast number of people, sole-traders, freelancers, SME’s etc that do not have a back up procedure in place at all what so ever. Which I find astounding because in life, shit happens.

It really does. Sooner or later something WILL happen to that data, the only questions are; what and when?

2) Restore.

I can imagine some of you having read the above are now giving yourself a pad on the back. Yes, I check the log and every time it says: Back up successfully completed.

Have you ever checked that? Have you ever restored your data from a back up? Especially if you run a business. Have you ever had a trial run at restoring the data (and therefore operations) from a back up? There are a number of very legitimate reasons why you ought to do so.

Referring to point 1, shit happens, also to back ups, there are a large amount of reasons why a back up can feel and still present itself as successfully completed on your log. This is by far the most important reason to check, simply has it worked. There is a lot of operational learning that can be achieved by running a restore exercise which is of course a controlled environment. The first thing you will learn is how long this recovery process actually takes, how much time/money will a recovery actually cost? What you will find is the unexpected and the unexpected is something which better encountered in a controlled environment then in a real world situation.

3) Where do you keep your back up?

Do you keep it on-site? On a USB stick in your desk drawer? Oh no, you keep it on “the cloud”?

Where you store your backup is something to consider carefully. Lets take a flood that floods your office and your vault/safe. Or plain old fire, your office/premises burns down? Or another often overlooked possibility; your backup gets stolen. Just to name but a few things to consider on where to keep your backup.

The cloud is simply a techy way of saying; your backup is spread out over lots of computers which are connected to the internet.

Where do I keep my backup?

On a server, which is in a rack, which is in a secure cage, which is inside a high secure datacenter, which is inside a mountain, which is in Switzerland.

Why?

Because I know EXACTLY where my valuable data is. Reason number two; it is a simple process to set up (a few clicks to select which drive) Reason number 3; cost. The relatively low quarterly cost for peace of mind easily outweighs time and effort spent on alternative means of backup by far.

One other thing, the Swiss have always been known for keeping gold safe.

Your data = Your gold.

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