You need systems to save data so that, in the event of a disaster, you have the information you need to continue running your business. Consultant Melanie Hodgdon, president of Business Systems Management, in Bristol, Maine, helps remodelers create and manage financial and business systems. Here are some of her recommendations for small companies that lack an in-house information technology person to handle computers and network safety:
1. Whether you have a stand-alone computer or one that is part of a network, use an external hard drive for all data files. Load your software (such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Act!, accounting software, etc.) on your internal (C:) drive, and store your files on the external hard drive.
2. When organizing files on the external hard drive, use folders to discriminate between critical and noncritical files. Hodgdon says she has a folder on her external hard drive labeled "Master," and inside that folder are two folders labeled "Critical Files" and "Noncritical Files." She says that since you can stipulate what you want automatically backed up, this helps streamline the backup process.
3. Every Friday afternoon, Hodgdon also copies the "Critical Files" folder to a second portable hard drive. She says that another option would be to automate this using a Web-based backup system, although for companies electing to turn off their computers every night, this doesn't work.
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