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Here’s something that most IT people won’t tell you. Some responsibilities simply cannot be outsourced.

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Regardless of company size, your IT system is crucial to the daily running of your business. Be it in-house or (increasingly) outsourced, most of us rely heavily on support to ensure that our technology runs hiccup free. However, maintaining a reliable network is not as simple as it sounds and often leaves techies scratching their heads.

Last week, David Moore commenced his expose into the secrets of computer maintenance – 20 dark secrets your computer technician doesn’t want you to know (or is simply too embarrassed to tell you). This week, he continues with the uncomfortable truth about backing up your data.

Who has your back?

Last week, I promised to tell you something that I suspect you’ve not heard from any IT person before. It is probably the most important piece of information you’ll ever hear about data backups.

It comes from the heart, it comes from cold hard facts and it comes from painful experience.

6. You need to keep a person who cares about the data in the backup process.

Up until now, I’m sure you’ve been sold automatic backups solutions that ‘look after themselves’. Now why would you believe that? Nothing else in computing looks after itself. Why would your backups?

I do not care what anyone else has or will tell you about data backups. I will stand by this assertion until the day I die. You need an actual person regularly checking that your backups are working and testing that the data can be recovered.

Sometimes, if you are a small business, the person who cares about the backups may be the person doing them. In larger operations, it is most likely that the person who cares about the data doesn’t even know the person who is doing the backups. This is a problem.

Some responsibilities simply cannot be outsourced.

I’m going to tell you something else that I bet you’ve never heard from an IT person before either. This is probably the second most important piece of information you’ll hear about data backups.

7. You need to build a ‘backup’ mindset into how all your team work on a day to day basis.

Home and small business computer users simply don’t have the time, resources or expertise to do the sorts of batch-like backup jobs that big businesses do. In big business it is a common belief that ‘someone else is doing the backups’.

Instead individuals need to be encouraged to build backup strategies in how they work on an item by item basis. This can be hard when your team is made up of people who just know enough about computing to get there job done and nothing else. Backups have to fit into the way your business works so that it happens ‘as part of what you do’ rather than ‘something extra that is a bother’.

Here’s the last thing I’ll tell you about backups that you’ve probably not heard before from your IT person.

8. You need at least two completely different backup strategies and every piece of important data should be in at least three different physical locations.

If losing what you are working on would cause you pain, then back it up now!

This is but the tip of the iceberg. When data loss happens it happens very fast and data recovery is very, very slow.

Data backup and data loss is a horrible business.

Sooner or later you will need to come to terms with losing everything and starting from scratch. Some people find that liberating and the process of renewal exciting. Yeah, well, not me.

Next week, I look forward to sharing with you the the uncomfortable truth about brands, purchasing and the concept of ‘free’.

David Moore has 25 years experience in the computer industry and is now Principle PC Hater at ihatemypc.com.au.

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