Devise a Back Up Plan for Your Business Data

This article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.

Everyone knows that backing up computer files is important, and most of us will face a computer crisis of some type sooner or later. But simple laziness, or perhaps a lack of information and belief that backups are too costly or time-consuming cause business owners to put it off.  And that can have disastrous consequences.

Damaged or lost data files have cost many small or home-based businesses weeks, months or even years of work. It can happen in an instant, for many reasons. Suddenly your hard drive starts making loud grinding noises and stops working. Your laptop might be stolen or maybe you simply push a wrong button. Computer viruses also can make files vanish.

Technological dangers are common and you must be prepared to avoid them.  Having backup files available in the event of trouble could be the difference between staying open or having to shut down.

There are several ways to backup your business files. One simple method is to copy or “burn” your files to CDs.  This works if you don’t have large amounts of data to protect. You also can keep a secondary computer or external hard drive around to serve as your backup center.

Another option is to use a service that lets you back up your data over the Internet. Depending on the amount and type of data you need to save, you can use any one method, or a combination.  The key is to make certain at least one set of files is kept in another secure location.

It helps to have a specific plan in place to protect your files. First, decide which files are critical to keeping your business operating. Choose a backup method and perform a full backup at least once a week. Backup any critical data daily to a removable device. To make sure the backup systems really work, test your backup files at least quarterly. Keep a full backup on site for convenience, but be sure to store one set far enough away so a disaster won’t strike both locations.

Imation is a top supplier of backup hardware, also called “removable data storage media,” and has one of the broadest product lines in the field. The firm’s Web site at has a section devoted to “Small & Medium Business” with helpful tips, advice and product information to get you started. and Symantec at also offer backup solutions designed for small business.

To plug yourself into other technology solutions for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call (570) 851.1608 or visit to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.