“Nah, nothing on it to really worry about!”

I could not tell you how many times in my profession that I have heard these words from people regarding their technology. The other one is; “Well I can recreate what was on it easily.” This is usually followed up by a few questions we ask and then by a very perplexed look on the person’s face when they realize that the QuickBooks data that they have been diligently backing up was to the same hard drive that just failed or that’s where all the pictures were from our trip to Spain.

Your hardware is replaceable and it can be costly. However, recreating years of accounting or even a week or two of a basic spreadsheet can cost the companies/end users a significant amount of time and resources. The average decent laptop runs around $1000 and a Server can run in the tens of thousands.

Ask yourself these questions: How much would it cost me to fly my family back to the Grand Canyon and retake the 150 photos that we took? How about; How many hours would it take to restore even one month of accounting work? (not to mention if years have been lost). What will the fines and penalties cost from the IRS when audited after the loss of accounting data?

This week I picked up new computer from a customer that had been kicked or dropped under a desk. They had purchased the cheapest piece of crap that Walmart sells. The end user had been waiting for a day for the disk to check itself and the system would not boot. When questioned about if they had a backup they stated; “Yah, from about a month ago but I can easily recreate it.”

I took the computer back to the bench where I booted it off of a USB to run some testing on the hard drive.  It quickly became apparent from the loud thunking noise of the hard drive that I would not be able to retrieve his data. I called and explained that the computer they had purchased was not appropriate for a work environment and that restoring any data would require it to be sent away to a clean room, platter removed and a data recovery performed. The cost would be in the thousands.

To my surprise (sic), the end user started to get irate with me about not being able to retrieve his data and that maybe 1 to 2 grand wasn’t that much after all. I have learned to become very firm with people at this point usually with a pointed, carefully worded phrase informing them of how absolutely stupid they were not to have a backup.

Folks, data backup is cheap. It may only cost a few dollars a month to backup your laptop or your documents and pictures. You can replace the hardware but the data is not as easy or cheap. Consider hiring a decent IT firm to take care of your data and the security of it. You will be more productive for it and contrary to popular belief we are not that expensive. Also, you should ask your IT firm to give you daily reports on the status of your backups and they should perform test restores on a regular basis to ensure data and backup integrity.



PS – Last month I took on a new client that runs a fairly large office with about 15 employees. After initial analysis I determined that they had not successfully backed up their server for over 3 months which included all their email and their accounting system as well as user files.. The response from the CEO was; “Oh, Yah, we used to have someone in charge of that.” and didn’t even seem to be concerned.. No harm no foul right? I am still trying to convince him to let us manage his server and backups….. I am tired of barking at the moon.. So when you don’t have a good backup or a firm that is in charge of your data and there is a data loss. Don’t expect me to be consoling you. I will most likely tell you how stupid you were with a smile on my face!