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When Disaster Strikes: How Long Would Your Business Survive if Files On Your Computer Disappeared?

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A Tornado? In Birmingham? In The United Kingdom? Unthinkable!

Yes, in July 2005 (while I was putting finishing touches to my cave-house in Spain) my house, along with many of my neighbours' houses was struck by a powerful tornado that literally tore up the streets. Leaving people homeless as their homes were bulldozered (with all their possessions inside).

Thankfully, my house was still, pretty much intact and won't be being demolished but I work from a home office. I have lots of critical data and information on my computer - marketing information, accounts information, key contacts, books in progress to name a few. If my house was bulldozered (and I didn't have an adequate off-site backup system) I would have lost the lot. As it was, I was still able to access my key files even from Spain.

But how would you fare? What if your computer went kaput this very minute? What if a freak accident, theft, or natural disaster literally destroyed your computer and you lost all your files? Would you be able to get back up and running with minimal fuss or would your business be crippled for a long time to come?

No one wants to think about it, but in light of recent world events it makes sense for every company to have in place a business continuity plan. This might include installing a backup generator for power, having a second office available for re-location, and ensuring your insurance policy is current, relevant and up to date.

Some of the above may be more applicable for larger companies, however one element that's 100% critical for ALL businesses regardless of size, is to keep an up to date copy of your computer files.

Files can be lost instantly by a power surge, fire, flood, theft, virus and of course the most common risk ? human error (i.e. accidental deletion)!

This information is the lifeblood of your business, and needs to be backed up regularly. Unlike your office or the computer itself, your computer files cannot be replaced, yet without them you have no business.

For most companies, files to be kept safe will include:

* Databases

* Client records

* Presentations

* Invoices

* Emails

* Historical work archives

* Research

* Digital photos

A simple risk assessment question to ask yourself:

"How long would my business survive if the files on my computer disappeared right now?"

Unless you have a current 'back-up' or copy of your information it is quite likely that your business will cease to operate for some time, if not indefinitely soon after. In our business our database (of people like you) is extremely important. It's taken years to build up and is irreplaceable. Which is why we have taken active steps to protect it.

There are a number of ways for you to make back up copies of your information, and these methods can be divided into 2 main categories.

1. Manual processes, which use recordable media such as tapes or disks.

2. Online backup services, which use your Internet connection to transfer data.

Manual processes rely on you carrying out the backup, rotating the media and then removing it off-site every day. Consequently they can be labour intensive, costly and in addition the media can be unreliable (i.e disks can be scratched). You don't need me to tell you that doing it this way is certainly not lean. It's a boring, time consuming, yet critical task, that's not automated (but should be) that simply gets in the way of you doing your real work while putting you at unnecessary risk. See the 'Pain or Gain' chart in your free Lean Marketing Detox eBook for a recap.

For this reason, many companies are now signing up to online solutions, which via a small piece of software backup your information securely and automatically each day for you.

Furthermore your information is stored safely off-site so if and when disaster strikes your files are completely safe and can be instantly restored to any machine.

It's human nature to think, "it'll never happen to me", however it is more accurate to think, "when will this happen to me?"

Don't gamble with your business, back it up today and keep it safe.

For our online data backup we use and recommend, why not check them out and make sure to set up a backup plan as soon as you can. You never know when disaster will strike!

'Dangerous' Debbie Jenkins

(c) Copyright 2005

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