Today I'd like to talk about a key part of business workflow. Backing up your data, whether you are a business owner or anyone who uses a computer, is vital to ensuring your important digital life is kept safe. The longer you use a computer without a major failure, the closer you come to encountering one of those tragic moments when you hit the power button and your computer sounds like a blender and starts billowing smoke. Sadly, I am not exaggerating. If you're not already backing up your digital life, here are five reasons why you should take some time this weekend and figure out a backup now!
1. It's professional
We've all heard a horror story of someone who's had some tragic computer failure and they inevitably lost ALL OF THEIR DATA - very picture, every school assignment, every business document, all GONE! I cringe every time I hear a story like this, but to be honest, there is really no excuse for anyone not to have some basic backup in place. Protecting your data protects your reputation as a professional. Whether you are a photographer, designer, musician, artist, or other, having a data storage plan protects your future. In our photography contracts, Jess and I specifically state how long we will retain a client's photos. We highly recommend that you cover this in your contract, as well but before you make this commitment to your clients, make sure you have a trusted system in place.
2. It's cost-effective
Most of us have heard of the cloud before. Put simply, cloud storage is a system which stores data over the internet at one or more remote storage locations. Google has a cloud, Dropbox has a cloud, Apple has the iCloud. You are likely using the cloud already whether you know it or not, since almost everything on a smart phone is stored in the cloud. There are dozens of cloud storage options out there, and the vast majority of them offer lots of FREE space to get you started. Take a little time to look at the various options, device compatibility, and storage options to choose the one that is right for you.
3. It's easy!
I recommend keeping data backed up in the cloud for the sake of simplicity. Most of us do NOT have time to regularly copy files from the computer to CDs or external hard drives. Even if you do have time for this, unless you are continuously backing up your files manually, you are always running the risk of losing your most recent work. A benefit of cloud backup services is that, when set up properly, they automatically back up your data. Even when you're mindlessly browsing through BuzzFeed videos, your cloud application of choice is moving your documents to a secure server somewhere across the internet. If your house burned down and you lost your computer and hard drives, your data will still be safe on the other end of the cloud. An automated backup frees you up to focus on other tasks, or to just take a breather.
In addition, all of the major services have a setup process that takes 5 minutes or less for a simple backup. And once you set it up, you can walk away and never touch the system again until you need it!
4. It's more than just storage
Services like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps enable you to not only back up all your work, but also DO work in the cloud. They also allow for easy collaboration between multiple people. Google docs anyone?! I could talk forever on this topic so we will have to save it for a later post!
5. It's for people on the go
Having everything stored in the cloud means you can access it anywhere you have internet service. This flexibility enables you to detach from a single computer and be productive with your tablet, cell phone, or a friend's computer. We live on the go, especially in wedding season, and this feature alone has saved us many headaches!
I hope I've motivated you to at least start researching what backup solution is right for you. There are lots of options out there, but don't feel overwhelmed! Take advantage of the free trials to test-drive a few of your options before you commit. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to help!