There are likely a few answers to this question and I have to preface this by saying I hope this helps business owners that this happens to. (And warning: it is a small rant of frustration!)
At some point or other technology will impact you and your business. It is a fact of life technology is not perfect, nor do we expect it to be but I hope these computer backup tips will help at least some business owners manage ‘the void’ we experienced.
Here’s what happened:
We had to go overseas to help my mother-in-law in the UK move into a retirement home. We are working during this time and my computer starts ‘swelling’ so I take it to the service centre who advise me it is due to a faulty battery. Worried about the battery fault issue recurring, I decide to purchase a new computer.
While my computer is on order, my husband and I are sharing a brand new 12 week old laptop and while I am working on it, I get the black screen of death. It won’t turn on, it won’t reboot, nothing works. We take it in to the same service centre and they ask us to leave it with them. Separation anxiety sets in. We are now computerless, away from home and office and working off our mobile phones instead.
We then receive the news that it is a faulty motherboard issue on the new computer, the data (and everything) on the computer is gone and we have to wait for a new order to come in to replace the part. This happens two more times with both new motherboards faulty.
Angry and frustrated at this point, we set an alarm for 3am to call the service centre back in Australia regarding the replacement warranty. Nine ‘client service’ staff and three hours later on the same call, we are told that: ‘we need to be physically in the country to make a refund or replacement claim’.
I am fairly certain, as a lawyer, that this is substantially against Australian Consumer law terms (it is!). Just in case I missed something in the fineprint, I also scour our warranty policy, claims, terms and conditions and cannot see where it states that a person making a claim must be present in the country.
Major fail. Big time!
It felt like the carpet was being pulled out from under us and our businesses. We don’t realise, as business owners, how much we are all reliant on our computers.
So the lesson we can share from this to help protect your data and business: Have a very good system that regularly backs up your data, website business and material.
There are lots of great low cost options out there. As a guide, here are the ‘must-have’ backup tips that helped us to survive this apocalyptic scare:
- Carbonite: We use Carbonite which you can set to back up your data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. There is a monthly or annual subscription fee and no cost for data retrieval if you need to access it when something goes wrong. Carbonite is approximately $6 per month per computer.
- Google Drive: We also use Google Drive which saves all your documents in the cloud with fees based on your storage requirements. A terabyte (which is A LOT of data) is approx. $10 per month.Both backup systems are a similar cost and work on a similar basis: with Carbonite, all documents, images etc are saved on your computer and backed up by Carbonite in the cloud. With Google Drive, it stores all your documents in the cloud so it generally by-passes your computer for storage purposes. Your Website is usually hosted and all hosts have backup.
- Temporary Computer backup: We went out to buy a Google Pixelbook in the meantime. The advantage to this new little laptop is that everything is in the cloud. It is like using Google drive with a Google Chrome web browser. You can run all the Apps you run on an android mobile phone on it. If anything goes wrong, it is very easy to get back up and running quickly as there is minimum data stored on the machine itself. The difference is that not all the programs and Apps that you can run on a fully functioning operating system on a PC or laptop are available but it is a small powerful temporary alternative.
We are diligent and serious about keeping up our security, compliance and backups. We change our hardware every year. We annually update with the latest and greatest hardware as part of an important investment in our businesses. However, even the best technology will fail at some point, or be lost, stolen or broken. It makes us rethink our backups and who and what we will move on to next.
In the meantime, luckily my new computer arrived and we are caught up with the business, as clients need things yesterday in a law firm and you need to be responsive!
All business owners are very reliant on technology so a backup plan is super important
What if you lost your computer, damaged it or it was stolen?
Would you be prepared? Do you have any computer backup tips to share?