Don't Delay, Backup Your Data Now

I have personally talked with quite a few people in the last several months that are not sufficiently backing up their data. In most cases the data is considered critical to the business or owner and would cause significant hardship if lost. I am continuously examining the causes of this careless attitude toward backing up data.

Experienced computer professionals know that backing up data is a very serious and essential task. Just 25 years ago, only the largest corporations utilized computers to process data. Trained data processing professionals were responsible for the operation of the equipment and they thoroughly understood the seriousness of data backup and recovery. Now, almost every business of any size uses computers to track and automate finances, human resources, orders, scheduling and a variety of other operations. Computers and software have become significantly more accessible to non-computer professionals. The accessibility is a function of the affordability and the simplicity of use of modern systems. Small businesses may not have any professional IT assistance. Non-professionals can often install a computer system and set it up to perform the functions that it was purchased for. However, critical maintenance and backup procedures are often neglected or insufficient.

I am finding that many business owners and home computer users treat their computers like an appliance. They buy the computer from a retailer or internet source. Sometimes, they buy extended warranties. Actually, computers are more like automobiles than appliances. There are certain maintenance procedures that are required for ongoing safe operation. Apparently, a lot of computer owners don’t understand the necessity of certain maintenance-like procedures, like backing up data. And while most states have certain insurance requirements for automobiles, most businesses and computer owners are not bound by law to backup their data. Computers should not be treated like appliances; the valuable data on a computer is vulnerable to loss at any time. Computer warranties and maintenance contracts may get your computer back up and running in the case of a failure, but they will not recover lost data. In the vast majority of cases, the data is more valuable than the computer itself.

Unfortunately, many computer owners don’t place a high priority on data backup and recovery procedures until they suffer a loss. I have personally advised many such people to start a regular backup and recovery program. Almost all agree that they need to do just that, but most of them procrastinate until they have a serious problem. A surprising number of people call me only after they have had a costly data-loss experience and want to do something to protect against future losses. This is especially unfortunate because the cost of the first data loss event often amounts to more than a person or company would spend on a data backup solution for life.

I am still searching for the right words that can be used to convince the typical computer owner that their data can be lost at any moment. “Any moment”, is not an exaggeration. Computer hard disk technology is very good, but the technology is not a permanent storage medium for data. Hard disk drives do a wonderful job of storing data and allowing it to be retrieved quickly and on demand. However, computer hard disk drives wear out and are also vulnerable to a number of other failures. If your data cannot be easily replaced, then you should be making backup copies on a regular schedule. Don’t delay your data backup and recovery plans because your data could be lost on any day, including today.

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