Prevent Data loss and Preparing for Disaster
You know that computer security is important to you and your business. But do you know exactly what you need to do today to protect your home/business computer? Sooner or later, disaster will strike. It does not have to be anything as dramatic as storm, fire or flood - an overheated motherboard, electric jerk, a malfunctioning hard drive, spyware or a computer virus can be enough.
The cost of backup hardware and media is trivial compared to the value of your data. Imagine that you lost your customer list, your product database, your accounting spreadsheet or other crucial business data. How would your business continue?
So, back up your data. Nothing can prevent data loss better than doing backups of all your important data. You save hours, days and weeks of works doing backups regularly.
Here are few tips for implementing a disaster recover strategy:
1. Buy an external hard drive. These hard drives, which connect to your computer via the USB 2.0 or FireWire port (check which port your computer has), have fallen dramatically in price. Some of them are about the size of a paperback and can be easily transported. Most come with a backup program that lets you schedule automatic backups for your data. Prices have gone down dramatically and if you shop around you can get a hard drive for under $50.
2. Put all crucial computer-related information in a folder. This includes the customer support numbers of hardware and software manufacturers, serial numbers, warranty documents and configuration information. The last thing you want to do is to hunt for these items while you are desperately trying to get your computer working again.
3. Back up data and store the media offsite. Having an external hard drive is great, but what would happen in the case of theft, flood or fire? You should regularly (let your calendar program remind you) back up important data on CD or DVD and store these elsewhere, such as at a friend’s house or in a safe deposit box at your bank.
4. Back up data online. There are numerous companies that will store your data online for a fee, but it might even be enough to use a web-based e-mail service such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, as these now offer very generous storage quotas. Just email important files to yourself.
5. Have extra hardware. If your main computer fails, you can just move the external hard drive to your laptop and continue working. It might also be useful to keep an old computer around as a backup machine, as long as it still runs the programs you need to use. This way, you do not have to run out and buy a new computer right away, if your current one fails.
6. Central storage of data on the network. Your critical data if possible should reside in one place on the network. It is far simpler and easier to backup, restore and protect one machine than several. As a side benefit, physical and network access to that machine (and therefore to critical and perhaps sensitive data) can more easily be restricted, improving security.
7. Always quit your programs before shutting down your computer. When you quit a program, it saves vital data and then exits the program. If you just turn off your computer without properly exiting your applications and closing your files, you run the risk of loosing your data.
8. Avoid overheating and vibration. All hard drives are going to crash sometime. Electronic and mechanical drive components are sensitive to heat and vibration. Keep your computer in a dry, clean and dust-free environment. It is essential that the drive must be properly cooled and ventilated. Even if your system has embedded coolers and fans, additional coolers installed in a way of cooling the hard drive directly, will improve the drive's reliability. Heat and vibration are two critical causes of hard drive failure.
9. Scan for viruses. The threat of losing data from virus is now greater than it has ever been because of growth of the Internet. Using anti-virus software is as important as keeping backups. And the anti-virus software must be updated regularly. Take the time to scan the computer and any unknown media storage that will be used on your computer. This might come from someone who might have a whole shop full of infected computers.
10. User Friendly Operating system. Always use that operating system and software applications which is user friendly and easy to handle, because users are typically less technical.
All of above preventive measures, Human error is three times more potent a data destroyer than all viruses, floods, lightning bolts, earthquakes and hurricanes combined. One accidental / intentional deletion, for instance, can be as devastating as a natural disaster. Most people delete a file and say ‘Oh my God, that was a week's worth of work’ and then they start looking for a product to recover the file, rather than installing the product as preventative medicine. Until and unless you have the complete satisfaction about the recovery software doesn’t use that.
After performing all the preventive measures at least you are sure that now all the data is safe and readily available whenever it is required but repeat the process regularly.
By Ali Bokhari