Ask the Accountant
I back up my files each night on a thumb drive. Is that enough?
You do need to back up your files, especially your order and accounting files, so you can recover quickly when disaster strikes and not lose critical data.
For most of us, the information on our computers is priceless. If our personal files were lost forever, we would be devastated. And for our business files, how much time and money would we have to spend to reproduce it?
Our priceless memories and business data deserve to have multiple backups in a variety of places:
- Have backup files on your computer for programs like QuickBooks that have back up prompts. You can save these backups in a folder in My Documents on your computer and on a thumb drive.
- Have an external hard drive set up for automatic backups. Check this routinely to make sure it is backing up as expected.
- Have an off-site cloud type of backup service such as Carbonite.
It's smart and comforting to have all three types of backups. Backups on your computer can fail if your computer is stolen or destroyed, or if your hard drive crashes. Thumb drives tend to be easily lost and often suffer the same fate as the computer to which they are most often connected. External hard drives can fail, or the software, for some reason or other, may stop the automatic backups. A cloud backup could have unexpected problems, or you could forget to renew the service. Because every backup solution can fail, it is best for a business to have multiple backups in a variety of places.
A few months ago, my hard drive failed, taking my QuickBooks backups and all of my other data with it. My computer guru, Peaches, couldn't get any data off of the old hard drive. Next, we turned to the external hard drive, which I had not checked for a while. It had stopped backing up a while ago. Thank heavens for Carbonite—everything was there. I had immediate access to the files I needed right then. It did take a solid week for the files to be restored, but I was so thankful for my backups.
Now I check my external hard drive and my Carbonite backups every week.
Harriet Gatter, owner of Accounting Support, LLC, was an ad specialty distributor for 23 years and an adjunct professor of accounting at Neumann University. She sold her ad specialty business in 2012, became certified as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and now works exclusively with ad specialty distributors nationwide on their QuickBooks and ccounting needs.
Please email accounting questions you would like considered for the column to HGatter@AccountingSupportLLC.com with the subject line of "Ask the Accountant".