If you are anything like me you have had a number of instances over the years where you were in danger of losing some valuable data that you hadn’t planned on losing – but, were suddenly confronted with losing. This is a part of running a business, and it feels much better to be prepared for contingencies than be held hostage by them.
One of the first things you should buy – at the same time you buy your business computers, is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This is basically a big Ni Cad battery (or series of batteries) that takes over when the electric current cuts out from the wall outlet. There are many types of UPS with various amounts of time before they too run out of juice and leave you with no power. Ideally you’d want the battery to last at least 5 minutes so you could close all your programs properly and shut the computer down before the UPS is empty of charge. Well, ideally you’d want it to run all day – but that’s not going to happen without an electricity generator!
A UPS might cost $50 to $200 depending on feature set. The sad fact is that when the UPS takes over for the electric current from the wall you probably only have a couple of minutes of battery if you buy the $50 option. I strongly suggest you get a UPS that conditions the line – and keeps the current flowing steadily without fluctuations. Many UPS’s have network cable and modem cable ports so you can make sure your computer is safe from surges through those as well.
If you don’t have a UPS and experience a surge you might just lose power. You might lose the computer’s motherboard – not a great scenario.
Get a UPS for all your computers, monitors, and anything else that requires electricity be flowing uninterrupted.
The next issue you want to implement is data backups. There are many configurations your business computers can have setup that will protect you and enable a computer tech to rebuild your hard drive date in case of the cataclysmic failure of one or even more drives. You may not need a RAID 5 configuration, but if the data you have is priceless – you might well need it!
Most companies backup data to DVD or tape daily. You need not back up all your data every day, but you can do “incremental backups” and backup only what has changed since the last backup.
Personally I go a couple extra steps further than backing up my data often. I backup with redundancy – I probably have eight different backups of the same files. Yes, I’m paranoid about losing some of the data that took me a long time to create. I don’t want a fire or something I haven’t thought of to take out all my data. If you have a fast internet connection you might consider backing up your files to the “cloud”. Meaning, to an outside server that might be located across the globe. I use server space at various websites I own as a storage place for some of my essential data.
And finally, something that you probably have but that probably isn’t configured to properly protect your business – anti-virus program.
I’ve used, and become comfortable with, Norton’s Anti-virus suite of software and I wouldn’t change for anything. They have great support, and if not the best, then one of the top 3 anti-virus programs in existence.
Recently Norton has decreased the size of the program’s memory footprint and so your computer won’t be bogged down as much as it had been in the past. For it to be effective, anti-virus software must always be running.
Start your Norton with the most options turned on as possible. See if you can live with that. Try to live with it because your data will be protected at the highest level at those settings. If you simply can’t, start going through and, one by one removing options that might speed your computer back up.
Anti-virus, firewalls, malware detectors, and spyware detectors are not infallible. In fact, some viruses that come out have free reign of the internet until someone discovers them and creates a program to kill it. Your data is always vulnerable, so keep good backups at all times!