World Backup Day – without data where would we be now?

Covid-19, and the subsequent lockdowns, has proven just how data-dependent we are. Millions of people are now working from home and if it wasn’t for the internet and data, economies the world over would crash spectacularly.

Data allows us to withdraw cash from ATMs, make remote payments and buy things in shops even as high streets are shuttered up. We can remotely communicate with friends, families, and colleagues and keep things ticking as the world limps along.

Of course, we don’t think of data as enabling us to work from home, it’s all about the internet and broadband speeds but without data where we would be now? We’d be in a world of filing cabinets, mountains of paper, clickety-clack typewriters, and clipboards.

As such the current situation drives home the importance of this week’s World Backup Day, which was on the 31st March.

Your data is more valuable than your smartphone, laptop, and Mac

Believe it or not, hardware is cheap compared to your files. Lose your smartphone or laptop and you can replace them. Lose your data and you’re in trouble if it’s not backed up.

Think of all those tunes, videos, films, contact numbers, letters, photos, work, research, work projects and anything else you hold valuable – they’re all gone.

Maybe you can put a financial value on them; perhaps you’ve spent lots of money on music and videos, perhaps you’ve spent endless hours on work and personal projects, maybe you’ve been gathering photos over the years?

It’s hard to put a price on these personal, and often precious, things.

What do you do?

You back everything up that you hold valuable and don’t want to lose.

It’s a simple thing to do. You’re making a second copy of everything that would result in a lot of weeping and wailing if you lost it.

If something happens to the original files you can restore the backups to your computer, smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Why should you back up?

There are some very common situations in which people lose their data. Your smartphone is lost or stolen, a hard drive crashes, you leave a laptop on a train, plane or bus, your device is infected with malware that locks up your files or you accidentally delete important files.

Backup options

Simply put a backup refers to any piece of data that exists in two places. It’s essentially a recovery plan and as such it’s common to keep backups offsite such as in the cloud or at the very least on an external or storage device.

Using a cloud backup service is the easiest, most economical and most effective way of keeping your important data safe.

BullGuard Premium Protection and BullGuard Internet Security both have integrated cloud backup for DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive, and external storage such as standalone hard drive or USB.

You simply create a profile then decide what you want to back up, where you want to back it up and when. It’s as simple as that. And all your invaluable data is safe. What better than that on World Backup Day to make a plan for backing up your data?

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and all surrounding villages.  

Changes in Data Breach Laws

lawA recent article in Microscope.co.uk is giving a heads up for the proposed changes in the data breach laws across the EU.

At the moment, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has the ability to dole out fines of up to half a million pounds to any company that fails to look after its data. The problem is, this maximum penalty is rarely used.

The proposed changes will see a much tougher stance being taken, including a fine of up to 5% of turnover. Plus, the company will have to reveal it has a problem within 24 hours.

The article went on to quote Grant Taylor, Cryptzone Vice President of the compliance vendor, as saying that the 24 hour rule would be a ‘game changer’ elevating data security to a boardroom discussion across Europe.

He went on to comment that, “as has been reported, in the US where data breach notification legislation is a lot more onerous that in Europe, the costs of remediating a breach are a lot higher. As a direct result, we have found that the issue is discussed a lot more amongst companies and, as a consequence, the profile of IT security generally seems to be far greater.”

Opinion

What do you make of these proposed changes?

Are they a good thing?

Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what you think.

Disaster Recovery Planning

scream10 tips for disaster planning

Successful disaster recovery depends on having a realistic and well understood set of objectives based on your business needs. This involves planning and preparation:

  • From the business impact analysis
  • Understanding and quantifying risks
  • Classifying and prioritising applications and data recoverability

Your Disaster Recovery plan should also be documented. But this isn’t a one off exercise; the dynamic nature of IT means your plan should be continuously reviewed and updated. Plus continual investment in new technologies to provide higher performance at lower costs is essential as it the need for data backups.

So what are the top 10 tips?

1. Linking your business and IT

The creation of your Disaster Recovery plan should be seen as best practice and not pitted against cost. Cutting corners here could prove very costly indeed so make sure it is integrated with your businesses day to day priorities.

2. Plan across the board

Your Disaster Recovery plan won’t work unless you take all your functional IT areas into consideration. Constantly ask yourself ‘what if’ and think about downtime and your loss tolerances. Your plan also needs to take into account everything during and after a disaster.

3. Keep it current

Although you hope and pray you’ll never need it, your plan should always be at the forefront of peoples’ minds. Once in place make sure it is maintained and amended to reflect your changing IT landscape.

4. Test

Yes it’s a complete pain and quite a major undertaking but how will you know if your plan will work unless you test it? Best to find out its shortfalls before it’s really needed.

5. Be realistic

Being realistic is vital in both your recovery point objective and recovery time objective.

6. Who is responsible?

The last thing you want is everyone heading for the hills when things go wrong. Make sure everyone knows the part they have to play.

7. Risk

Think of your Disaster Recovery Plan as an insurance policy – how much and what kind of insurance does your business need? And what risks are you prepared to take? You could be looking at a disaster such as flood or fire or it could be a systems failure. Take a look at all aspects of your business to make sure everything is covered.

8. Backup

What kind of backup do you use? Make sure  the medium you use works should it be needed. After all there’s no point in having a plan if you can’t retrieve your data.

9. Accessibility

If you house your backup data in an off site premises will you still be able to reach it if you need to? It sounds odd but if your office is victim to a fire and you keep your backup data in a building nearby – are you going to be able to get to it? Is it likely to also be affected?

10. Cost

Disaster Recovery plans can be expensive and is often a cost that many businesses simply can’t absorb. But what’s the alternative? How much will it cost your business if it all goes wrong and you don’t have a plan in place? It should be seen as an investment – it’s your peace of mind that when the worse happens your business will survive.

No one ever wants to think about the bad stuff that can happen but, a fact of life is it will happen to someone sooner or later.

Don’t leave your business exposed. If you’re unsure how to proceed find an expert who can help you with your Disaster Recovery Plan. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Online Storage and Backup

Have you tried Livedrive?

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It’s the one thing that fills you with fear. Something so terrible it could literally kill your business.

What is it?

That terrible moment when your computer crashes. Everything is gone – your work in progress, your customer files, your accounting data, your photos, your music…

There are numerous ways you can avoid this catastrophe. You could use an external hard drive or one of the many online storage and backup solutions that are available.

One that we have found to be particularly good is Livedrive which was reviewed in PCPro in July 2010.

It offers its users a wide range of features including:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Web access (so you can access your files form any computer)
  • Incremental backups
  • Simple installation
  • Synchronisation of files between computers

It’s so simple, just create your Livedrive account, download and install the local client and choose the folders you want to back up.

It usually backs up your files in real time, uploading a new version every time you save. Plus, deleted files are stored for a minimum of 30 days and up to 30 pervious versions of every file are retained so you can easily revert back to an earlier copy of a document even if it’s been overwritten several times.

Livedrive also has settings that include point to point encryption, exception and prioritisation settings for different file types and a LAN transfer option to synchronise data between all the computers on your local network. Plus it adds an option to the Windows right-click menu to instantly back up selected files. It seems to have though of everything.

You can have as many computers as you like on your Livedrive account and each will have a separate entry to the web portal. There’s even a mobile version too and an app for iPhone users.

Livedrive is definitely one of the most feature packed online backup services out there at the moment. Its easy to use and is actually one of the cheapest which is why we are offering it to all our customers and recommending it as our first choice online storage and backup service. 

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.