Shield Your Business From Data Loss – What To Backup & How

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Protect Yourself from Data LossWhen my web host deleted all my sites for “violating terms of use”, I quickly learned the value of backups. I made a dumb mistake and installed an email script that sent out 1000 emails per minute without my knowledge. It was an accident, but they deleted everything anyway. Good thing it happened early and the sites weren’t producing any kind of revenue. Today, without my websites and email list, I’d be without income. A state I’d rather not be in.

We all know we should backup, but when you get down to it, how do you ensure you’ve covered everything? Glad you asked because I’ve got some ideas to get you started.

What To Backup

Before beginning, consider what your business relies upon. What tools, systems, or files, that would severely cripple you if you lost access to it for a whole day. A short list for most internet businesses would be:

  • Email list
  • Website
  • Shopping cart
  • Computer software
  • Files on your computer
  • Important physical documents

Physical Documents

Much as we love the thought of going ‘paperless’, there will always be paper. What comes to mind are taxes, local licenses, and receipts.

You can scan these into a digital format, but this is time consuming. An option is to pay someone, like your kids. Alternatively, you could send it to a service like [Shoeboxed.com]

Why digitize? Because it is a lot more portable and easier to backup than paper.

Files & Emails On Your Computer

With a wide number of services available, backing up your computer files is easy. It’s amazingly affordable too. Some services you can try are:

These services backup to the cloud and that’s a good thing. In case your home office or computer suffers physical damage – like flood or fire – you can get back up and running easily. On the other hand, most times when we lose files, it isn’t that catastrophic. Local backups are always faster to recover for day-to-day oopsies.

That’s why, in addition to cloud backup, I also keep a copy of all my files in an external hard drive.

Use Gmail? If you aren’t afraid to DIY, check out this tutorial from How-To Geek. You can also try a service like Spinbackup

Computer Software

Ever needed to set up a new computer with your favorite programs? It’s a nightmare looking for all those license keys isn’t it? These days, 99% of my software keys are delivered digitally. I save the confirmation emails with the keys, and send a copy to Evernote. For non-digital ones – it’s as simple as taking a picture and uploading it to Evernote.

Email Lists

This is a little trickier. It all depends on your email list provider. A good one should allow you to download your contacts. Ideally, you can automatically download it. Otherwise, it’s well worth outsourcing this task.

In addition, you could also have a script written so that, when people subscribe, the lead is saved into your own database in addition to being sent to the mailing service.

Shopping Cart & Websites

If you use a third party cart – you want to check with them how you can save a copy of your customer and purchase data regularly. If your shopping cart system lives on your website, then the great news is – you can quickly backup that and your website – whether it is built with WordPress, Drupal, any other CMS, or plain old HTML – in one go.

Most web hosting panels have a way to backup everything. For example in cPanel – the most popular web hosting panel – you can log into each account, and hit the backup button. The down side is, this isn’t automated, and you have to do each site separately.

Using a service like AutoSiteSaver, you can add all your websites into a single dashboard panel and manage the backups from there. If you have a reseller account, it’s even easier. Their system automatically grabs all the sub-accounts under it and you can set all sites on the same backup schedule or set different sites on their own schedule.

They have a 14 day free trial so you can test it out risk free and have your first backups done free. Take it for a spin.

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About the Author

lynette
Lynette is a geek who gets marketing. Having adopted WordPress in its infant stages, she fell in love with it and today, develops WordPress plugins that make our lives as marketers easy. You can find her writing about tech and a lot of WordPress at TechBasedMarketing

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