How to backup your business computer system

How to backup your business computer system

How to backup your business computer system in 7 simple steps

Backing up your business system is crucially important. Every business manager knows that, but most organisations still don't take all of the simple steps necessary to protect themselves against information loss.  This simple seven-step process will help you to make sure that you are fully backed up. Make sure that you follow this process and you can be sure that your business information is safe.

Step 1 - Save all of your data centrally

The first thing you must do is to ensure that you save all of your data to a central location.  This usually means a network server (or servers).  Make sure your business information is organised neatly in shared folders on a server system and make sure that everyone in your organisation sticks to the rules.  Lots of people keep business data on the desktops or My Documents sections of their PCs or laptops - or even on their home computers. This is the most common form of information loss. This information will not be backed up and will not be able to be recovered in the event of a computer failure or laptop loss.  Don't let this happen to you.  Check to see where your business information is and make sure it is stored centrally.

Step 2 - Set up a reliable backup routine

Then, you need to set up a computer routine which will backup your business information.  This is normally done by taking a copy of your business information and transerring that copy to another device. In simple terms, you will have a second copy of your information (a backup) which you will be able to turn to if something happens to the original information.   Backups are normally taken daily.

There are lots of ways to do this.  There are programs you can install to your server which will copy your data to external hard disks (or even tape) or another server in a different location - or you can choose to copy your data to the cloud.  Whichever method you choose, you need to make sure that your backup is set up by a competent person and backed up properly.

Step 3 - Make sure everything is being backed up

This is really important. Backing up your your computer files and directories is vitally important.  However, just backing up your files and directories is not enough.  You also need to backup your computer programs, system settings and user accounts.  Basically, ever single piece of information on your server needs to be backed up.  Make sure the person who sets up your backup system does that ...... and don't forget your emails.  They must be backed up too.

Step 4 - Check every day to make sure that it works

Once your backup is up and running, you need to check to see that it works every time it runs.  It's no use having a backup in theory, you need to have a backup that works and you must check to make sure that it works.  Most backup systems will have a log system which you can inspect to see how the backup performed. You must check this every day after every backup.  Otherwise, you're not really backing up.  Most systems will also send an automated email out to a specified supervisor to report on how the backup performed.  Make sure this is set up, read that email every day and take action if you detect a problem.

Step 5 - Regularly test batch files

There's nothing like seeing something working with your own eyes.  Test your backup regularly.  At least once a month you should create a superfluous file in your data folders, let the backup run overnight and then check to see if that file is included in the backup.  Look to see if you can find it, open it and copy it to your own PC or laptop.  If you can't, then there's a problem.  If you can, they you'll know that your backup is working.

Step 6 - Perform a simulated disaster event

Once a year, you need to go further than that.  We recommend that you perform a simulated disaster recovery - to make sure that you actually could restore your computer system in the event of a disaster.  

You'll need to get the latest copy of your backup and restore that data to separate (blank) server - to see if your backup actually works.  It'll probably take a whole day to do this - and you will probably need to involve the services of a qualified backup professional, but it needs to be done.

One interesting thing is you will find out exactly how long it takes to get your system back up and running in the event of a disaster.  System downtime is bad news for companies and organisations as it usually means that your staff can't work properly and won't be able to server their internal and external customers properly.  It can mean a significant loss of profit.

You should be targetting a same-day recovery to minimise downtime and the effect on your business.

Step 7 - Continue to do all of the above

Then make sure you continue to be vigilant and make sure that you are properly backing up your IT system.  Keep your process under constant review.  Check the process every day.  Check batch files, in different locations, at least every month and revisit all of the steps above regularly to make sure that you are happy that everything is working as it should.  Your profitability or the very existence of your business or organisation may one day depend on it.

And finally!

Let BTP do it all for you.  For just £100 plus VAT per month, we will backup all of your data, setting, user accounts, programs, emails - everything.  We'll have one of our Microsoft-qualified backup engineers check it for you every day and make sure that your data is available to restore your system whenever you need it.  You won't have to do a thing.  Our Hampshire online backup and disaster recovery sevice will be all that you need.

Call us now on Southampton 02380 652111 and we'll talk you through the whole process.