Have Backups Got Your Back? Protecting Your Data
If you live in the real world, where toddlers spill things and teenagers want to click on every link that is sent to them, then you know what it’s like to all of a sudden lose data you’d been working on! If your computer has been “fine so far” but you don’t have any anti-virus software for protection, you may go through a “trial by fire” when your system gets hacked. Your data really isn’t safe unless you are backing it up properly. You should have more than one back up – a local hard drive or thumb drive and a cloud-based back up.
If your computer suddenly stopped working today – it won’t even turn on – could you get to the accounting records you need in order to keep the business going?
How do I start doing backups if I haven’t been?
There are a few free ways to do this if you don’t have a lot of data- Google drive, Dropbox, Skycloud, iCloud are just a few that offer a minimum amount of storage for free. Other trusted services like Carbonite, Crashplan (what we use at HR Biz) and Black Blaze are on a monthly fee plan.
I have QuickBooks desktop – what are my options?
QB desktop has a great option of $4.95 per month to back up your QB file to the cloud every night- $9.95 to back up your whole computer. It works great and we make sure all of our clients are on this service if they still use QB desktop. On the home page on the right-hand side you will see information for backing up to the cloud – try it for free for 30 days and see what you think. If your computer crashes, you simply go to another computer, log in to your Intuit account, download the software and it will find your last back up and load it for you. You are ready to go in about 10 minutes!
If I am using QBO or XERO or a cloud-based accounting system, do I need to back up and save?
Nope – you really can’t back it up locally for web-based software. If you use XERO or QBO or WAVE, your data is being backed up all the time.
Is it ok to put so much personal/company/client/financial information on a cloud?
It’s just as good as your password and your internal controls at your office. Can anyone walk into your office and sit down and get into your Google drive because you have the password auto-generated? Do you change your password if someone leaves your company? You need to use reasonable care when dealing with client or confidential information.
How many months or years' worth of records do I need to keep on my backup?
The IRS has recommended guidelines, which you can find here.
What should I keep on my company backup?
Several essential documents we recommend keeping copies of are: your business plan, articles of incorporation (if you are one), business licenses or certifications, insurance policies, bank & credit card statements, tax records, and employee files.
You will also want to have a disaster and recovery plan. This will help protect against identity theft if someone decides to use the situation to their advantage. Click here for details on what it should include.
Don't let your failure to plan, plan your failure!
Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, has over 20 years’ experience consulting with entrepreneurs of small to mid-sized businesses in the HR and office management capacity. Her specialty is Office/Human Resource Manager coaching and training and finding practical solutions for bookkeeping errors and HR blunders. Lynn has helped manage over 50 business start-ups and many of those companies continue to rely on her expertise today as they continue to grow.