What Your Business Can Learn From the Sidekick Disaster
This is a guest post from: Ryan McKillen, CPA
Recent events at a Microsoft subsidiary called Danger (a prophetic name, as it turns out) serve as a great reminder about the importance of backups. Danger makes a T-Mobile phone called Sidekick and stores phone data on Microsoft’s servers. A recent gaffe prompted Microsoft and Danger to notify customers that their data had been lost. Just today, after a period of limbo and dishing out quite the scare, the companies have announced they are capable of restoring most customer data.
As trusted partners of your small business, we felt this an opportune time to thank you for that trust, and once again, openly address the backup issue. This post contains pragmatic advice for assuring your WorkingPoint and other critical business data is safe.
Is WorkingPoint Data Safe?
Just two months ago, we blogged about Why Data Backup Is So Important. We shared what WorkingPoint point does to keep your data safe:
By using WorkingPoint, your data is continually backed up on our servers located at Amazon’s bank-grade e-commerce facility. We worry about backups for you. You can access your data anywhere confident in the knowledge it will be there when you need it.
We also recommended smart measures to take with all of your service providers:
Should you trust any provider completely with your data? NO! It’s your data. With WorkingPoint you can export your data and save them wherever you feel most comfortable. Just look for the export icons at the top of your Accounts, Contacts and Items List to download a CSV file of your data (or vCard file for Contacts, if you prefer).
3 Principles for Backing Up
For the data that resides on your own computers and servers, please have a backup and restore plan in place. Every business has a unique set of circumstances, but here are 3 principles your plans should encompass:
- Create backups and create them regularly. Your hardware may fail the next time you return from the coffee pot, or it may be years down the road. When it does, you’ll not only be glad that you have a backup, but a recent one.
- Keep your backups offsite. In the event that your business is ever the victim of fire or theft, do not keep your primary and backup data in the same place.
- Test your restore process. There are 3 reasons why merely backing up is not enough: Until you successfully perform a restore, you cannot be certain your backups have integrity. You need the practice and the confidence that if needed, you can quickly get your business back online. Data can be corrupted and all storage media eventually goes bad, so while regularly backing up is smart, so to is restoring.
A Practical Backup Plan
Since I’ve been a small business owner, I’ll close with how to set up the simple backup scheme that I used for my business.
- Buy two external hard drives.
- Keep one at your office (onsite backup) and one at home (offsite). If you work from home, keep one at home and one in a safe deposit box where you bank.
- Set automatic reminders that regularly prompt you to backup.
- Each time you finish backing up, swap the locations of the external drives. This ensures multiple recent backups, offsite and on.
- Don’t forget to periodically test restoring!
Now get a good night’s sleep, knowing your WorkingPoint and other critical data is safe.