Tools


Ways to Avoid Data Disaster

Keep your practice running non-stop by insuring your company's critical data. Here's 5 easy steps to insuring your critical data.

1. Install a Backup System

Use backup software to back up your computer files on a periodic basis. For example, daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Tape is the most common method. Purchase the software and hardware together so that they are compatible.

Tape drives can be internal or external. The disadvantage of an external drive is that it usually attaches to your parallel (printer) port, which (depending on your printer) can cause a problem with your printer.

Whether you plan on backing up only certain files or your entire hard disk drive, make sure that the tapes you purchase can handle the corresponding capacity.

If your computers are on a network, your software should be configurable to back up files from the different computers.

2. Assign a Staff Member to Do Backups/Restores

Assign a specific staff member to implement the backup program and to know how to restore data when a problem occurs. That one person is responsible for making sure the backups get done. Without backups, your stuck if your hard disk dies. Also, make sure that person knows how to restore from a backup so that when a problem occurs, you can restore the most recent backup and get right back to work.

Some software programs allow you to schedule backups automatically.

3. Store Backup Media in a Safe Place

Place backup media (tapes, floppies) in a fireproof safe or off-site. Offsite storage is ideal to avoid every possible catastrophe that could occur at your practice from flood to fire. However, this may not be practical if you need to get at the media immediately. Consequently, a fireproof safe is often sufficient.

4. Install Battery Backup

Install a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to provide battery backup when power to your office goes down. This system is usually a standalone cabinet containing one or more batteries and the appropriate electronics to detect when the power going to your computer is shut off. It attaches between your computer and your power outlet.

When power to your space is shut off (whether internal to the building as could be caused by a circuit breaker, or external as in the case of a blown power transformer on the street), the UPS automatically detects the power spike and immediately provides power from its batteries. You can continue working on your computer. However, check the available time provided by the UPS you purchase.

The UPS is primarily used to prevent loss of data or file corruption. Consequently, if the UPS is placed into service when there is a power outage, you may want to shut down your computer system in an orderly fashion and check on the source of the power problem.

5. Install Anti-Virus Software

Install Anti-Virus software on your computer to prevent files from getting corrupted and viruses from destroying data on your hard disk. Before doing this, however, you may want to verify that there is no conflict between the applications you currently are using and the Anti-Virus software you intend on using.

Anti-Virus software is particularly useful when you are transferring files between computers or downloading files from the Internet.

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