Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Backup, Backup, Backup!

I'm sure all of you out there are very good about backing up your QuickBooks datafile and other accounting records. You backup well and you backup often. Right?

But is your backup safe?

There are many ways to backup your data.....you can burn it to a CD/DVD, save it to a USB drive, save it to an external hard drive or upload it to a secured web location. Of the methods I've mentioned the safest place for your data is the secured web location as long as the actual file server is not at your main location.

Recently a colleague of mine who was religious about backing up his files lost everything. He thought he was secure since he backed up all his pertinent data to two different external drives. Then he came home from a dinner out with his family to find his laptop and both external hard drives a smoldering pile of ashes due to a power surge from a lightning strike. Everything was gone.

For local backup purposes of a large amount of data, I do recommend an external hard drive system that is formatted to automatically backup important data once per day (preferably in the middle of the night). This will help protect you in case your PC decides to die or your main hard drive fails. But test your backup system often to be sure it is working properly.

But if your home or office burns down or is otherwise damaged, the data on the external drive will be lost as well. It is here that data backed up to a secured web location will save your butt.

There are tons of options out there from setting up your own FTP file server (with the actual file server kept in a separate location from your main computer) to using one of the many companies out there that provide storage solutions. There are a lot of options out there on the web. In prior years I tried the automatic product from XDrive.com and GoDaddy's Online File Folder but both were slow when using to manually upload/download and were cumbersome to use.

About 18 months ago, I switched to Carbonite and am so glad I did. Carbonite comes highly recommended in both the IT and Accounting communities and for less than $60 per year (per computer), I have complete piece of mind. Several times last year my main computer had to go to my IT guy for repair or upgrading. Each time, I hardly missed a step in my daily workflow as I was able to instantly switch to my laptop and download the files I needed from my Carbonite account and my external hard drive.

So, whatever you do.... backup and backup often!