Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Name is Earl

With Hurricane Earl approaching my area, I've been doing the normal hurricane preparations. Things like buying food, water, batteries, and bringing all the outside toys inside.

Right now I'm being told that it could just be tropical storm conditions, but there is a chance it could move more inland and cause more problems. There could be power outages, and it's possible for roofs or buildings to be compromised.
So, what do you do when your entire business is on a computer (laptop, desktop or server)?

According to the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the effects of a disaster can be quite profound:

• More than 1 in 4 businesses will experience a significant crisis in a given year.
• Of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emergency plan, 43 percent never reopen.
• Of those that do reopen, only 29 percent are still operating two years later.

It is clear, disaster preparedness is central to business survival, particularly when it comes to protecting a company's most valuable and irreplaceable assets: its people and its data.

That's why it's crucial to have backups. And not just backups to an external drive, but to a remote location. I blogged on this topic last month (Long Pause Clients) but it is events like Hurricane Earl that make this worth revisiting.

I know that if my office were to be destroyed my business wouldn't. I could easily download any file necessary to continue. It would be difficult enough dealing with any kind of destruction but to add on top of that loss of important business documents or even family photos would just add to the devastation. Don't let it happen to you!

Just remember to do it BEFORE a disaster is coming your way, as it does take time to upload files to these remote locations. I have about 600GB of data that took 3 days initially to upload, and I have a full 20Mbps upload speed. Most internet connections have a high download speed, but a much slower upload speed. After the initial upload, it only takes me a few seconds every day, to back up the files that have changed since the last 30 minutes. So, my computers are never more than 30 minutes since their last secure backup, with all files saved off site.

Tape backups fail. External Hard Drives can be lost or stolen. There is only one way to do it, and that is the right way – automatic, encrypted, online backups to a secure facility.

Let’s hope that Earl comes and goes without incident. But what about the next storm? Or fire, flood, burglary, hard drive failure or other such inevitable event. Are you prepared?
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