Everything dies. Some things die sooner than others. Take hard drives. One thing to bear in mind when storing your critical business data is the very real fact that all drives, no matter what their make or orientation, were built to fail. At some point in time, they all will. What happens to the data you have stored to your hard drive when the inevitable occurs rests entirely in your hands.

If you think that getting back on the road to recovery will only involve riding out a few bumps, take this fact into consideration: According to the National Archives & Records Administration, 93 percent of companies that lost access to their data for more than 10 days in a row because of a catastrophic occurrence filed for bankruptcy within one year. Half of those companies didn't even make it that long and filed for bankruptcy immediately. If this doesn't help drive home the point that taking advantage of small business backup solutions is essential, it should. At very least, it should inform you that catastrophic data loss can put your business in serious peril.

To act as a reminder to take steps to safeguard your data from loss, an independent initiative was launched designating March 31 of every year as World Backup Day. Strategically calendared one day prior to April Fool's Day (presumably to add a strong counterpoint), World Backup Day cites statistics like high rates of smartphone theft and startling computer virus infection rates to get people to take action and back up their critical data.

One of the tenets of World Backup Day is adherence to what's called the 3-2-1 Rule. This rule states that all important business data should be backed up with at least three copies, in two different formats, with one copy housed elsewhere. Here's a more detailed explanation of how that could work.

  • At bare minimum, you should have two copies of any given file saved in addition to the original file. This can include keeping one extra copy of the file on an external hard drive and a third in a cloud storage account.
  • Storing data in two different formats sounds tricky, but it really isn't. This can be as simple as keeping one copy of your important files on the cloud and another copy saved to an external hard drive, or even burned to DVD.
  • Housing all of these copies elsewhere should be a no-brainer. Ultimately, this is to prevent you from losing all of your valuable business or personal data in the event of the unthinkable   like a fire, a natural disaster or even theft.

Running a business without the benefit of an IT staff or even so much as a single IT guru on the payroll can be intimidating enough without having to teach yourself the ins and outs of data backup. For this reason, there are an increasing number of cloud storage providers now catering to the needs of small- to medium-sized business owners like yourself. You can find a number of services that offer easy-to-use business backup solutions that won't require you to hire a team of specialists.

In the meantime, don't wait for March 31 to come around to take action and back up that important data you need to keep your business up and running. If you do, you could regret it.

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