Backing up your valuable data is vital if you run a business. John Harrington writes in his great book Best Business Practices for Photographers in chapter 20: “A University of Texas study reports that 43 percent of companies experiencing a catastrophic data loss never recover, and half of them go out of business within two years.” Think about it.
Backing up your data correctly is important! The basics for a backup you can trust and will safe your business are:
1. You need duplicative storage. Your vital data has to be stored redundant. That means that you have always two identical copies of every single file. Should one storage fail, you have another one to restore the file.
2. You have to verify your backups. Just copying your files to an external harddrive doesn’t mean that you are safe. Are the two copies of your data identical? Or were the files corrupted during the backup process?
3. Backups have to be up-to-date. If you are able to restore your lost files with a version that is one month old, it’s better than nothing. But nevertheless you maybe will lose the work of one month (depending on the kind of data). Which can cost you a lot of money.
4. You have to store your backup off site, away from your office. What’s the use of a backup if it will be destroyed in the same fire as the original files on your computer?
There are more professional backup strategies. Like backing up every day to another folder/drive to be able to have different versions from the last 7 days accessible. After 7 days the files will be overwritten. But the above points 1-4 are the basics you MUST meet with your own backup strategy.
For data verification I use zsCompare. This software gives me peace in mind and lets me sleep well. And it will cost you as little as USD 35.00 (there are 3 versions of zsCompare available, but you are OK with the Lite Edition). You can use it for data verification and backing up your data by synchronizing two folders (the local folder with your original files and the backup folder on the external harddrive). And the best is that it is a Java application, so it runs equally on Windows and Mac computers. I highly recommend it! But you can use any other reliable data verification software, if you like. But USE one, and BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!