Two days ago, tragedy struck town. In the evening of May 3rd, fire broke out in a building that housed three local businesses. In a few hours, Randolph lost a Chinese restaurant that had been a fixture in town for a very long time, a barbeque restaurant that had opened two months ago and a sporting goods business that had been in business for many years and had just been purchased by new owners.
Fortunately, the building was empty when the fire broke out, so no one was physically hurt, but for the business owners to see their hopes, dreams and hard work go up in flames, the pain must have been incalculable.
As tragic as this story is, it isn’t unusual, and all of us can learn lessons from it. At Vermont Computing, we continually try to impress on our customers the importance of backing up the data on their computer’s hard drive. It’s probable that each of the destroyed businesses had one or more computers in the building and that these machines were critical to the business’ operations. But, I wonder how many were backed up on a regular basis. If our experience is any indicator, the chances are that the computers were either not backed up or they were backed up to a device like an external hard drive also located in the building. As you can see from the condition of the building, it’s probable that the computers and the external drives didn’t make it. So what should the owners have done?
The safest and most secure way of backing up data is to use an online backup service. The service will conduct regular backups and store the data on servers in a secure location. The servers are maintained by professionals 24/7 and reside in buildings designed to limit damage by fire, flooding and other catastrophes. The servers themselves are backed up regularly, so there is system redundancy. There are many back-up services and they vary in quality – some are better than others. We recommend, and work closely with, Dr. Backup. They are a “managed online backup service” which means the staff monitor their clients accounts to ensure backups are made when scheduled. If there’s a problem they notify the client and, if the client is associated with Vermont Computing, they will notify us. If the problem needs our attention, we work as a team with the folks at Dr. Backup to ensure the customer’s data is safe and get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.
It doesn’t matter whether the building houses a business or a family, a fire or some other disaster is always a possibility. It doesn’t matter if the data are business records or a family photo collection – to the owner, they are equally important. Please take steps to have your data backed up on line. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes.