If you've ever had the hair-raising experience of seeing your computer screen go blank right in the middle an important task, you are by no means alone. Current statistics suggest that about 1/3 of the 50 million laptops in use today will loose data in any given year, and that less than 5 percent of all lap top users are protected by any kind of back-up plan. The statistics are no more comforting when it comes to desktop data, where we see the same pattern of high risk, little or no protection, and huge potential for costly data losses. The consequences are often more devastating at small businesses where one employee maybe the primary gate keeper for crucial data --like customer mailing lists or financial records.
There are plenty of data-recovery systems and back-up programs available. And so, with so much at stake, why don't more business owners make use of them? Bad experiences in the past may account for much of this reticence. For years, the traditional methods of backing up data on tape were often difficult to understand, install and implement, and - if a business owner got past the installation hurdle-were usually time-consuming and cumbersome to run. Today, there are several options that offer business owners ease and simplicity. Let's take a look at a few of them:
Cutting Edge Backup Programs
Today's data protection programs offer the advantages of traditional tape back-up programs without the complicated, time-consuming process associated with tape backup. IBM's Rapid Restore Ultra
for Windows 2000 and XP creates a hidden "service partition" on the hard
drive inaccessible to any other application or by the end user. This service partition is set by default to use 20 percent of the space available on the hard drive. The Ultra package (IBM's Rapid Restore Ultra)
requires approximately 64 MB of space on the hard drive, not including the space needed for the back-up partition. The Rapid Restore
back-up process, which includes the entire system—data files, applications, registry settings as well as user data and network settings -- runs invisibly in the background. It is set to default to weekly backup but can be set to image more --or less frequently-- as needed. Recovery is simple. If the system goes down, a business owner presses the F11 key to recover it exactly as it was at the time of the last backup.
A new product from Peerless Software (http://www.peersoftware.com)
keeps the backup copy apart and located away from the user's computer. Installed on a desktop or a laptop, Peerless Software's Save-N-Sync protection system uses a second storage device, or networked computer, to store copies of important files. This data protection program also runs transparently in the background. Users may continue to work during file replication and synchronization. For larger businesses, Peer Software also offers its PeerSync Professional Series provides flexible and reliable file synchronization, file replication and file backup for servers as well as workstations.
For small business owners with limited IT resources, or for those who want to eliminate the need to stay current with new data recovery technology, out-sourcing may be a good option. Network back-up and recovery service providers like EVault use secure Internet connections to automatically backup Microsoft Windows networks to offsite data vaults. Through EVault Small Business Edition (SBE), EVault (http://sbe.evault.com)
manages the entire back-up process on a turnkey basis. The service, which supports Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and XP Professional Servers, is designed to make it easy for small businesses with less than 15GB to manage the backup and recovery of critical network data. Backups occur automatically each night and file recoveries are accomplished by a simple "point and click" of the mouse.
Another online recovery provider specializing in data protection for small and mid-sized companies, LiveVault Corporation (http://www.livevault.com)
recently launched version 4 of the its Online Backup and Recovery Service
to provide greatly enhanced protection for Microsoft Exchange (Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003). The new version automatically detects and properly configures systems to insure that Microsoft Exchange is fully protected and recoverable.
Whatever solution is right for you, these new options can help you significantly reduce the risk of computer disasters and devastating data loss, and make sporadic, incomplete backups a thing of the past at your business enterprise.