Technology and small businesses often don’t mix. Company owners are busy enough without the hassle of setting up or fixing their own computers. So, we’ve asked our friend, Owen Conti from Code 56, to share his hints and tips with you:
Last month we helped out a customer who came to us with a laptop that suddenly wouldn’t turn on, and asked us to take a look at it. They also let us know that they didn’t have a backup.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t good news for their laptop (economically, there was nothing we could do), but the silver lining was that we could recover the information for them.
In other cases, we’ve not been able to recover information, and that is why backups are so critical.
The idea of backing up files often conjures up ideas of jobs that take hours to run and loads of extra storage space somewhere. This doesn’t always have to be the case.
In our earlier example, there was only 1 folder that our customer really cared about; it represented months of work and would be impossible to replicate from scratch. For this customer, a great way to back this up would’ve been to keep a copy (and we’ll come back to that) in something like their OneDrive or DropBox account. Often these will come with a small amount of space for free (2 – 5GB), which would’ve been ample for this example. This way a copy of their files would’ve sync’d to their account and they could recover it just by logging in from another computer.
The trick is to make sure you actually have multiple copies though. Having your “working version” in DropBox (or similar) and sync’d on two computers is a step in the right direction, but if something happened to your account (we’ve seen people have some bizarre account issues before) you might lose access to your files in a recovery scenario. We always recommend at least 3 copies be kept for something to be considered “backed up”. (Some Photographers we know keep a minimum of 5 copies of everything!)
Essentially, a good backup strategy is one that focuses on what is really important in a “recovery” scenario and maintaining multiple copies of those items.
That sounds quite daunting, and a bit of a headache to keep track of, but there are some really good applications out there that take care of backing everything up for you with minimal effort. Some of them are even built into your computer: in Windows 10 just search for “Backup Settings”, and on Mac OS look for “Time Machine”.
By all means, if you have any questions or would like some help, please feel free to get in touch. Simply drop the Print Angels an email and they’ll make the introduction.