Take It Back – Part I

One Business Owner’s Experience

Those dreadful little words “I have no backup

The fear the terror and, oh, all that wasted time.

Just this week, I had a customer call me and said, “We have no data for April can you help us?”

We went through the normal process of determining if this was a technical problem, process problem or just a goofy mix up of some sort. After about 20 mins of remote assistance we determined that the data was gone – why? Well as important as question is, at that moment, it is a truly secondary issue.

“What are we going to do?” was the question the business owner had.

My instinctive response was, “Let’s get the backup out and we can easily restore the data from last week.”

– Silence –

In a small guilty voice came the reply “We have no backup.”  Further explained, “We have never had a problem before so we did not back up the data.”

“Oy,” I thought. That is what a backup is for – those times you think you will not need it. I felt so bad but there was nothing we could do. The customer was forced to re-enter days of data entry. I felt helpless but there was truly nothing that could be done.

This is a typical scenario, unfortunately, preventable – but still typical. It may be one of the last things that you think about but you must have a backup regimen implemented across your company. It does not have to be expensive or that complicated.

Here are some important definitions to understand:
Backup: A retrievable electronic copy of company file/s
Backup Device: The device that the backup files are stored on
File: A computer file (Word Document, Excel file, Photoshop Image, etc)
Folder: A location on your machine or other computer that files are stored in (My Documents, Acctng, Scheduling, etc)
Off-Site Storage: Hosted backup destination. These are services you can purchase to store your files on instead of using your own hardware. The advantage is they backup your backups – very cool
Thumb Drive: Small USB device that can be attached to a computer to store medium levels of important files (Usually 10GB of data or less)
NAS Drive: Network Attached Storage. This is a big huge storage device located on YOUR network. It is devoted to storing files and basically has no other purpose. (Becoming more popular)
Tape Drives: Large capacity tape devices are installed inside one of r your computers and have software programs that will go and get the files you want backed up. (Mostly outmoded)

Now, Consider the Following Basic Plan

For Small & Medium Sized Companies:

1. Create a shared folder organized by user name (Sally, Billy, Henry) or you may choose to use department headings (Acct, Payroll, Production, Scheduling, etc)
2. Save all “important files” in the above appropriate folder.
3. Backup this folder using a variety of backup mechanisms. (Thumb, Tape, DVD, NAS)

Come up with a simple plan and, most importantly, stick to it….

Next Time: Part II

Backup Databases
Backup Techniques
Restoring Files

What Every Business Owner Should Know About a Central Database System

If you are a business owner, here are some questions you may want to consider:

  • Do you find yourself tracking important company information in Microsoft Excel?
  • Do you need to simultaneously share this information with others in your company?
  • Do you want to be able to print reports about your business without a lot of hassle?
  • Are you familiar with what database tracking systems do?
  • Would you like to be able to enter information once into a central place and use it over and over again for different purposes?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you understand the need for a central database system. These systems are invaluable. Now, not to be too technical because, I can speak human, too, but a central database system is best described as an electronic filing system for all information about a customer, supplier, prospect, etc.  Most companies feel like they just cannot afford such systems and therefore limp along using Microsoft Excel or ACT or other similar software programs.  Other companies feel like their business is so unique that they cannot possibly find a system that will meet their needs for a reasonable price. Companies like mine, EZ DoesIt Software, are in the business of making such systems.   EZ DoesIt Software can make a custom central database system for your business at an affordable price.
Whether you hire my company or not, the way to get started is to invite a company to visit your operation and find out how you run your business and how you track customers, prospect, sell things, use your accounting system, etc.  Ask them to provide you with a quote of what you can expect to pay and what is included.   Make sure your development partner clearly understands your business, is technically certified and will be able to support you when you have questions.
In today’s business climate the ability to quickly enter, find and most importantly re-use the information you have will help you provide better service to your customers and therefore help you make more customers!

Does Your Coder Speak Human and Tech?

Does Your Coder Speak Human and Tech? Geeks and coders are often hidden; they speak…well…code!  To be able to interview a client and quickly interpret their needs are not common skills for geeks or coders.  They are best served attached to their machines in front of the blue glow of a monitor. They can develop an application but the human language often needs to be explained into coding language or interpreted for them first.  Can your coder speak human? Can he/she interview a potential client, quickly interpret  their needs, then develop the  application?  Can they deliver a practical solution? If you desire an application solution, make sure your coder can speak both human & tech.