Apache CloudStackThis article provides easy to follow data backup and data management advice for small business owners.

There are very few organisations that don’t rely on a computer network nowadays and this includes most SMEs.

Of course, there are some sole traders and very small enterprises that seem to get by without a single computer. However, for most businesses in the UK a modest network of computers for all the staff to use is almost essential.

It is hardly surprising that this is the case given that anything from order references, addresses and accounts information all need to be accessed from time to time. You don’t need to be a company that engages with e-commerce to need a system of computers where staff can update information and easily share it with one another, after all. However, what many SMEs fail to take on board is what a problem they could be causing for themselves if one of their terminals fails or – worse still – their server does.

Streamline Your Storage For Simplified Data Backup

Even in relatively modest computer networks one machine is usually tasked with providing all the network storage. The other terminals simply access this data and read it or update it, if appropriate. In poorly organised systems several machines have this function which can make data recovery issues much more of headache. There again, sometimes data is stored remotely on a third party server – so called cloud computing. You might not think your organisation uses cloud computing but what about email accounts that are held by Microsoft or Google?

Understanding how your network stores data and rationalising it is essential to putting a good data recovery plan in place. This way you can take the most effective measures to mitigate for problems – if they occur. One of the commonest reasons that SMEs have business critical problems is because data becomes corrupted and can therefore no longer be read by a terminal. This could be because the server is damaged in some way, perhaps because the hard drive holding the data becomes corrupted. Backing up this data at regular intervals can help. You may have to re-enter data up to the point of the last back up, but that is surely better than losing the lot.

Set It And Forget It

Most IT specialists will be able to show you the best way of making your backups automatic so that you don’t have to think about it. However, these back ups need to be made secure. Having your private and business sensitive data stored in a portable format means that it can potentially be stolen. Always ensure that only authorised personnel can carry out back ups and retrieve the data in them. Store back ups in a safe place and only allow access to a server through a secure password mechanism. Remember that some of your customer’s data needs to be held securely and your enterprise’s reputation could be on the line if you don’t look after it.

There are a number of ways of recovering data that SMEs should consider. One is to record new data in two places. In this model the server’s data is recorded to another terminal on the network or to multiple hard drives. If the server’s hard drive fails, you can simply swap them over. It is also possible to store your back up to another device, perhaps a pen drive that holds data in flash RAM. Another alternative might be to store your data to a third party server elsewhere via the internet. There are plenty of reputable providers of this sort of service that SMEs can access without prohibitive costs. Data can often be recovered from failed storage devices by specialist data recovery companies like Easy Recovery, who have branches across the UK, but ultimately, having a solution in place before a problem arises is the key to business continuity. Data recovery services should be viewed as a get out of jail free card rather than a preventative measure. Trying to sort out data loss after the problem has occurred is the last thing any SME director wants to be doing, since it can impact productivity.

Nick DavisonBy Nick Davison

This article was written by Edinburgh Data Recovery, follow us on G+ for more PC hardware and Data recovery related information.