Some of my clients are small business owners who are just getting started. These people tend to look at a server as an unnecessary expense, and rightly so. Sure, I would love to sell them a server, but if you work alone, you probably don’t need one.
What they DO need is Backups Now…. a reliable means of backing up their data. I understand that backing up your computer is a bit like flossing your teeth. You know you should do it, and you’ll tell me “Well, I don’t do it every day, but I do it occasionally”. You and I – and your dentist – know the unspoken truth.
Well, don’t worry. I’m not going to lay a big guilt trip on you like the dentist. Let’s just get it fixed! For the business owner who has just one computer, a USB drive will be fine for data backup. Some of them come with their own backup software. Maybe it’s good, maybe not. At this level, all we really need is a copy of the files – nothing fancy. I’ll usually write a little program that grabs all the necessary files on your hard drive and copies them to the USB drive.
It should be obvious that you want to back up your “Documents” folder, but there are some other areas you need to be concerned about. If you like to store files on your desktop, those also need to be backed up. VERY important, and often overlooked, is your Outlook data. If you’re like me, you store quite a bit in Outlook – contacts, emails, and appointments. That data is critical for me – more important than my documents, in fact.
Once the backup has been configured, I like to make a shortcut on the desktop. This just makes the process as simple as possible. Start the backup, and go get a cup of coffee. I would also make an Outlook appointment called “Make a backup” and schedule it at least weekly. Daily would be even better, but that’s up to you.
I’m not going to make an entire how-to for setting up Windows Backup, but if you need help, call us! It would probably take me an hour or less, and I will teach you the process so you can do it on your own.
Backups now. When your business grows, that’s when you should consider a server. A server gives you a central place to store and share data.