Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts: Backing up data is easy with the right software

CorrespondentJune 30, 2014 

Brian Craig, managing partner of Pointe Systems in Raleigh

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Business owners rely on electronic files to keep their operations running smoothly, but they don’t always properly protect them.

Backing up data is crucial for small-business owners, said Brian Craig, managing partner of Pointe Systems in Raleigh. It’s easy, but something he has seen overlooked many times. Data is vulnerable to a battery of problems, including viruses, hard drive failures, fires, floods and theft.

There are two main types of online data back-up systems: file level and image level. The vast majority of systems copy data to cloud servers, rather than using the old method of copying to a hard drive.

File-level software backs up files individually. This system is a good choice for an individual person or business that does not accumulate a lot of data. Mozy, Carbonite and CrashPlan services are the most effective, Craig said.

Image-level software, such as ShadowProtect, copies an image of the entire hard disk. It is much more expensive, but in the case that someone needs to access the backed-up data, recovery time is significantly faster.

A fast data recovery time could prevent a business owner from losing time and money due to employees being stuck without access to the files they need to work.

A business that generates a lot of data should set its system to back up data every 15 minutes if possible. For a company that doesn’t create much, every couple of hours is sufficient.

Business owners need to make sure the software is doing its job. At the end of each day they will be emailed a summary of back-up actions. For a very small business or one with no in-house server, relying on the daily report is fine, Craig said.

“It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing,” he said.

However, companies with in-house servers should have IT staff monitoring the data backup throughout the day.

Reach Jamie Kennedy Jones at jamiekennedyjones@gmail.com.

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