One of the great benefits of the computer age is the ability to aggregate virtually all of your work and records on your computer’s hard drive so they can be easily accessed on-demand, virtually instantaneously. It is not possible to estimate the productivity value of this kind of information aggregation and availability for people and businesses.
Simultaneously, one of the great aggravations of the computer age has been when that same hard drive self-destructs, taking all of your wonderful and genius work with it, perhaps years of records, because you didn’t have an effective and regular back-up system. Now, let’s say it all together: Boy howdy! Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt.
Over the years, my organization has employed several different methods of back-up, but even the most effective were never as automatic and immediate as they needed to be. These systems ranged from manually copying files onto another form of media to a more-or-less automated electronic configuration that turned out to be more less than more.
Of course, sophisticated mechanical onsite data back-up solutions have been around for years, like tape drives, for example. But these are designed more for centralized server-based environments and less for peer-to-peer environments (multiple desktop PCs with limited network capability), which is what is found in most small businesses.
For the past few years, online data backup resources have been growing in effectiveness and acceptance. They are great for all computing environments, but especially for small business peer-to-peer configurations. Online data backup is an example of “cloud computing,” or digital solutions and services powered from software that does not reside on a local computer.
As with other cloud offerings, you subscribe to an online back-up service and download their linking software to your desktop. Once you set up the back-up parameters - when and what - those files are sent over the Internet to a remote server automatically without you having to be there or think about it. The price for most of these services fits most small business budgets, especially when you consider the alternative of losing your stuff.
Full disclosure, I resisted this kind of system at first out of concern for proprietary information being stored somewhere else. But once I talked with several of the providers, I learned that all transferred files are encripted for privacy and security. Since we started using an online back-up service, we’ve lost hard drives but not one file. And if you have files that are so confidential and proprietary that you just can’t abide the thought of them being stored anywhere out of your reach, just mark them as such and the online back-up system will pass right over them.
Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I interviewed David Friend, a successful, serial technology entrepreneur who is CEO of Carbonite, one of the online data back-up companies I’ve been talking about. More full disclosure: We use Carbonite in my organization, but we don’t get a discount or commission for mentioning them. Consider them with the other companies that offer online data back-up.
But first, take a few minutes to listen to our conversation about online data back-up and, as always, leave your thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!